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baidu

Google Losing its Small Grip on Chinese Search Engine Market

7
Jul
google logo

Although the world's most famous tech firm is calling all the shots when it comes to mobile operating system Android, its search engine status is not faring as well in China. 

 

Google in decline?

 
In a very circle-of-life kind of way, Google is losing ground to its competitors when it comes to its place as search engine in Greater China.
 
The truth is that compared to other players on the Chinese market, Google has never been top dog. Despite what Google execs will try to convince you of, Google does not run the ENTIRE world. 
 
When it comes to China, there is no longer an overwhelming major player. Although Baidu is the obvious number one when it comes to percentage of the market as well as actual number of search queries managed daily, it is seriously losing it's grip on a market with a growing number of contenders. 
 
Baidu had been keeping a steady 70% corner of China's search engine race but has recently dropped below for the first time. 

 

Who's winning the race? 

 
As of late, Qihoo is gaining a growing share of China's online presence since it launched its search engine last August called so.com and now claims a whopping 15% share placing it second after Baidu
 
Qihoo CEO has shown the company's willingness to fetch between 15% and 20% of the market as that would ensure Baidu fall from grace. Well, job done boys. 
 
Now that that mark has been reached, Qihoo will not stop its climb and hopes to reach 20% by the end of this year. 
 

Google's obvious struggles

 
Any learned member of the Chinese tech community will know that the main obstacle to Google's presence in China is the fact that its not very welcome in the country in the first place. Indeed, it becomes quite difficult to maintain such presence when the people in charge are actively trying to kick you out. 
 

What of Baidu's failings?

 
If Google has a relatively good reason to not be a game player in China, why, then is Baidu losing traction to search engines such as so.com and Tencent's soso.com? 
 
Not all is lost yet, and despite having seen its shares fall in the recent times, Baidu and Qihoo and still going head to head to figure out who is the best engine to run the Chinese internet. 

Follow Chinese Sponsored Links Campaigns on Google Analytics

10
May
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Google Analytics classes as natural traffic anything that is not Google Adwords. Any other type of paid ad campaign from another platform then are not considered. 

 
The problem being: Google Analytics is not offering a precise enough depiction of where traffic is coming from. People using Baidu Tuiguang - the Baidu equivalent to Google Adwords - are having a hard time understanding where their traffic is coming from. 
 

Using Baidu Tongji

 
Baidu Tongji is their own version of an analytics tool. Indeed, it does pretty much the same job as Google Analytics. 
 
Surely this should solve our problem then; each to their own search engine. However, the problems faced by this are twofold: first of all, both tools do not function in the same manner meaning that it is impossible to results up next to each other. Surely that would be too simple. 
 
Second of all, this does not solve the problem of ad campaigns from tertiary sites. Effectively, there is no meta-analytics tool…yet. 
 

Other Solutions

 
As usual, Google is here to save everyone. By using their URL builder we can create specific, traceable links with UTM parameters that show up in Google Analytics. 
 
These will, in time, be picked up by Google even when they are placed on Chinese websites. 
 
The great benefits is that visits are accounted for in one single way, keeping them easily together, thus making analysis on your side much simpler. 
 
When it comes to analytics overall, Google still has the upper hand but could soon be seen overtaken by growing support services such as those offered by Baidu. Until today though, nothing exists to track ALL traffic coming from different search engines. 

Google More Successful than Baidu - Why?

2
May
google logo

Google has been going from strength to strength over the last decade while Baidu may have already reached its peak. These two companies are at the same place in their respective countries but not heading in the same directions. 

 

Baidu's place in China 

 
When it comes to search, Baidu is at the helm in China. Indeed, the engine takes on 80% of search queries on the internet here and its closest rivals are still light years away when it comes to numbers. 
 
The issue is not so much with the engine but the platforms it uses. Baidu is still mainly used on static computers which have seen sales tumble as tablets and smartphones take up the market. 
 
Google is not overly present in China as a search engine which may explain in part why Baidu's part of the market is as big as it is. Now, the greater issue is for the Chinese search engine to find new streams of revenue. 
 

Google's success

 
Why is Google so successful? Timing and smart decisions seems to be the clincher when it comes to this mega-company.
 
Both companies make the vast majority of their revenue through advertisement online. However, Google invested heavily in mobile and other services and is now seeing the rewards of that risk. 
 
Android was purchased in 2005, long before the iPhone hit our shelves and is now the most widely used mobile operating system in the world. 
 
Youtube was bought in 2006 and is now a staple of the global internet and has been promoted to the rank of verb. 
 

How to stay afloat

 
The problem for Baidu is that it exists in one of the most ferocious and ever evolving environments. It has been noted that the company has dropped value in its shares over the last year despite it being the biggest search engine in the country with the most internet users. 
 
The future will be difficult for Baidu as it will seriously need to develop into a more multi-function platform in the way that Google has managed. 
 
The rise of Baidu maps could be a step in the right direction for a business too heavily reliant on old-school personal computers. 

Baidu's Q1 results for 2013 show mixed messages

26
Apr
baidu logo

The financial earnings for China's largest search engine are out for the first quarter of 2013, and for now let's say that the year will be difficult to gage in terms of revenue and investment.

 

The figures

 
Baidu made a staggering quarterly revenue of USD961 million. With that much money, they could just close up shop and sit around counting their money. 
 
Sadly, I have been made aware that that is not how capitalism works and therefore Baidu are in no way out of the woods.
 
Despite these impressive numbers (Google is yawning in the corner) Baidu must ensure it keeps its head above the water by limiting the rising expenditure these last few months have seen due to new acquisitions and other costs. 
 

Good news

 
The positive as of now it that the quarterly revenues were up 40% from last year at the same time and the net income is now up to USD 328.9 million - not a small amount if you ask me. 
 
At the end of the trading day in New York on Thursday, the future looked rosy for the big runner for King of Tech in China. The shares were up by 5% at over USD90 per share. 
 

Faults and nicks

 
Sadly the future became overcast quite quickly as markets got a little spooked and the price of shares dropped to under USD85 in after hours trading. There is a prize to be won for whomever can explain why markets have closing and opening times if the global market never sleeps. 
 
According to analysts, this fall comes from the fact that Baidu is now pricier to run because of content costs that have become more expensive to reach USD15.4 million a year - a two fold increase on the previous year. 
 
Another reason is the simple matter that earnings did not make Wall Street expectations and the speculation was too high. Furthermore, concern about Qihoo is now growing as this relatively new search engine has landed on the market and eaten up a 10% share of the market. 

Baidu's Take on Google Glasses

3
Apr
baidu logo

Chinese Baidu is hot on the heels of Global Google as rumors swirl around claiming the company is developing its very own brand of smart eye ware. 

 

Baidu mimicking Google?

 
Interactive glasses is now all the rage as tech companies scramble to grab a part of the market. Indeed, if the rumors are correct, Baidu is making its own version of the Google Glass. Although I don't actually think they will market it that way "We're copying Google". 
 
Baidu Eye as they will be known are to be worn in the same way glasses are and will be fitted with an LCD screen and can be controlled by voice. 
 
Apparently, Baidu has got the intricacies of the device down pat and are now mainly working on the design and bulkiness. Do they become sunglasses as well? What are about people who already wear glasses? Will they make them in wayfarer shape? So many questions! 
 
Further rumors have said that Baidu is in talks with Qualcomm to get a battery life of at least 12h. We can't have our Baidu Eyes failing on us halfway through the day! 
 

Glasses Apps?

 
The same source has also hinted that the application will be a platform where 3rd parties will be able to develop software for the device. Genius way of getting free labour
 
Now what will be truly interesting is how the Angry Birds app is played on glasses. This is going to make for some epic pavement crashes. 
 
Although there is no end to the creativity of developers, one can wonder what type of apps will be developed for glasses. Will people be facebooking while walking down the street? 
 

The Future is now

 
Although nothing has been announced officially, these rumors are most likely true. What is less certain is exactly how long it will take Baidu to put these little gems on the market. 
 
If they leave it too late, they could lose all hope of making money off them as other companies sail on ahead of them and people are seen sporting their Google Glasses and Xiaomi visions!

Is Baidu Bigger than Google?

19
Mar
baidu

When it comes to daily traffic, Baidu may in fact be larger than Google. Considering one is used all around the world and one is used almost completely in China, there could be a large discrepancy in the next few years if Baidu plays its cards right. 

 

How much is Google getting?

 
According to les numbers of le Google (note my excellent grasp of the French language) they reach something akin to 100 billion search queries every single second! No, I lie, they deal with about that many queries each month. That comes to about 3.3 billion queries a day or 76 388 a second. Still quite impressive if you ask me. 
 
Now it has to be said that Google is used in many parts of the world (incidentally, not in China), it is indeed a global search engine despite there being more localized search engines popular in certain regions. 
 

Baidu gaining strength

 
The great Chinese finder rakes in something close to 5 billion queries a day. FIVE BILLION QUERIES A DAY is rather a lot. 
 
Now, I know what you might say; China is like 20% of the world population to itself without even counting the greater region. China is the fastest growing internet user base in the world, China has one of the largest diasporas in the world (after Ireland, if one bases it on how many people were celebrating Paddy's day). 
 
Fear not my friends, I was expecting these comments to come flying through. Baidu is indeed catering to a giganticus country but that does not change the fact that it taking in more traffic per day than the largest search engine in history. 
 
It turns out that Baidu do have searches coming from more than 130 countries but an overwhelming majority of its users are indeed in the Zhongguo. That means China for those less versed in the art of mandarin. 
 

Google as a game changer

 
In any case, whoever does have the highest number of search queries a day does not change the fact that Google will remain one of the internet game changers for a while still (see upcoming news of a Google clothing line). Indeed, the company is so embedded in our psyche that we've even started using the name of the company as a verb. Googling something is now a rather mundane act that does not warrant a reaction. I am not so sure Baidu has as much clout despite its slogan trying to make it out as a verb. Plus they don't have Google Doodles so I mean, how can anyone take them seriously?
 
How these companies decide to take on the future will decide who becomes the next leader of the internet. 

Baidu's Mobile Search Risen by 1000% in 3 years

1
Mar
baidu logo

The great Chinese search engine Baidu has been instrumental in the development of mobile internet throughout China. As it turns out, searche queries made on Baidu from a mobile device have risen by 1000% in the last 3 years. 

 
1000% still sounds like a wild number but if Baidu says it then it must be true. 
 

The next internet will be mobile

 
It is gradually becoming a known fact that any true development of the internet and search trends will happen on mobiles and tablets. A few million billion people have smartphones now and need them constantly for an expanding range of services. 
 
What will we tell our children? "I remember a time when phones were used to call people" HAHA.
 
In order to stay ahead of the game, Baidu needs to crank up the development of mobile related searches. 
 

Baidu's endeavours

 
According to its latest Mobile Internet Development Report, Baidu has somewhere close to 80 million users coming in from mobile devices every day. 
 
In order to really enhance these numbers, Baidu will need to research how we use the search engine from a mobile compared to a static computer. 
 
Indeed, we are often online on our phones at specific times of the day, and are perhaps more likely to be on the move. Thus, searches will revolve around finding places, and services within the vicinity. 
 
A number of Chinese company have been developing mobile-specific versions of their websites. This makes it more likely for smartphone users to visit their websites while on the go. There is nothing quite as terrible as having to deal with a website that is not enhanced for mobile. 
 

How to monetize?

 
The problem with all this great expansion and development is that Baidu has yet to figure out how to make any cash from it. The company is therefore investing heavily in mobile to close in on the gap between PC and mobile. 
 
Baidu's revenue last quarter were close to the $1 billion mark. Despite these impressive figures, the company really needs to ramp up its game as the search engine world is becoming a crowded playground. 

Google and Qihoo Announce Partnership, Damaging to Baidu

22
Feb
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Google the almighty and Chinese mega-company Qihoo 360 are partnering up, leaving out Baidu to fend for itself. Despite it still having a majority stake in search activities in China, Baidu should be a little worried about these two companies pairing up. 
 

When is the great coalition commencing?

 
The partnership will most likely start within the beginning of 2013 (which is now!). Indeed, Qihoo's CEO had already made it clear the e-commerce giant was rather willing to work with other companies. 
 
Another hint that the linking up will happen soon is the raising of search revenues for 2013 by analysts. They have gone from an estimated $62 million USD to $90 million USD. A massive jump considering we do not even have full details about this marriage yet. 
 

No details yet

 
It is true that the two companies have stopped short of sharing any details about the upcoming association. Perhaps they are eking them out to make the whole announcement more exciting. Or they are trying to torture Baidu - which if true is hilarious. 
 

What is Google playing at?

 
So what's the deal with all of this? Why is Google partnering up with a Chinese e-commerce company? Is this its way of eating into the Chinese market. 
 
Furthermore, Qihoo has also launched itself into the world of search engines when it debuted its very first search engine in a bid to expand it's grasp of the internet beyond security - which is where it started. 
 
And with Alibaba lauching it's own search engine recently - this part of the market is getting very heated indeed! More information about this parntership will be eagerly received for us all to get a good idea of what's happening the area. 

Alibaba and Baidu in Search Engine War

21
Feb
Alibaba-group-logo
Alibaba has launched a new search engine called aliyun.com and hopes to challenge Baidu and, to a larger extent, Google with this newest release. 
 

The Battle of the Search Engines

 
The time has come when the most important declarations of war are those declared on the internet. It has begun people, WAR. 
 
The largest e-commerce website in China, responsible for such wonders as the online payment platform Alipay takes pride in its status within China, and is therefore keen to show off its latest development and gage the reaction from users and competitors. 
 
This new part of the company will be hosted under Alibaba Group's subsidiary named AliCloud.  It will offer four main features: internet, maps, news and, of course, images. Now, although nothing else has been announced, there is significant scope for further developments for the brand new search engine. This is, after all, the very first version.
 

Alibaba's place among the big boys

 
E-commerce companies in China are at each other's throats; Qihoo notably launched its search engine so.com in the midst of last summer. This move was an attempt to chomp on Baidu's part of the market, and it proved successful with Qihoo jumping to second place on the popularity scale. 
 
Baidu remains King of Search with 73% of the market share. Admittedly, slightly ailing compared to before. Poor Baidu, it has had the most outstanding growth for years and people just keep on complaining
 

 

A more even spread?

 
As can be imagined, Baidu is fuming at this new development and Google is keeping a watchful eye on it from the top floor of its lair in Mordor. 
 
Some may claim that a less obvious hegemony by Baidu is healthy for this part of the market. Remains to be seen…
 

The effect on SEO

 
What does this say about the Search Engine Optimization scene? As Google stays at the top of the top, we all learn their ranking methods and algorithms. However, if there are more search engines well surely that means more time discovering and figuring out how best to enhance a website for each search engine. This will be time consuming but inevitable as results depend on it. The office is buzzing with excitement at the thought of all this new learning. 

Baidu Grows 41.6% in a Year, Makes no one Happy.

6
Feb
baidu-new-homepage

Why all the negative reporting?

It's a hard time to be a tech company when even those who manage to achieve a profit rise of 36% in a quarter are seen as failing. 
 

Q4 earnings revealed

 
It turns out Baidu's Q4 earnings have been posted to the dismay of everyone. The 41.6% is the slowest we've seen since 2009, call in the administrators! 
 
The bulk of revenue generated by Baidu comes from search-engine advertising. Which is no surprise when one knows it's the most popular search engine in China (and quickly trying to become the world's as it ventures into Africa). 
 
Although the online marketing revenues were up 40.8%, that is actually slower than the quarter before where they were up 49.6%.
 

Too much gloom?

 
Am I the only one astounded that most reporting on these earnings denotes doom and gloom? A company elevates its earning by over 40% and NO ONE IS HAPPY. Perspective is sometimes sorely needed. 
 

External factors

 
Baidu came out, in advance, to say that the earnings will be different from usual because of the overall slowdown of China's economy (not to mention the rest of the world) and a more fervent competition from other budding companies. 
 
Part of reporting on the economy and the major companies surely includes taking into account the external factors that come into play and influence earnings and growth. 
 

Baidu still a major player

 
According to sources, Baidu still maintains its 80% share of the search market in China and its revenues for the last quarter of 2012 were higher than analysts expectation. Again may I reiterate that everyone have a sit down and ask themselves what they are so worried about. 
 

Innovation is key

 
Admittedly, one of the big hurdles Baidu will have to cross if it is to continue its rise will be the switch from PC to mobile. In fact, the company's R&D department is pumping all its steam into developing cloud computing and mobile related services. In time, the company will have caught up the gap and will be in tune with the ever-changing demands of netizens today.