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Microsoft is on Tmall


The tech giant Microsoft, determined to resist the pull toward has-beenery is setting up camp on China's Tmall. The ultimate idea is to push customers to purchase Microsoft products and render it a relevant company in today's tech world. 


Tmall: the platform for relevance

For those new to the e-commerce world of our fair nation, it goes something like this: you can buy anything in the world in physical stores and shopping malls which involve public transport, queuing and, worst of all, interaction with other people. The  alternative is to buy all the wondrous products through their "online storefront" at 
All the big names have a storefront on here making it easy and accessible to the crucial populations of China who do not have immediate access to a vast array of shopping malls. Indeed, China is really quite spacious and those who do not live smack bang in a major city will benefit greatly from getting their shopping fix delivered to their door without moving. 

Microsoft's bid on itself

The new Microsoft Tmall space will be selling the flagship Surface media tablet as well as Windows operated computers and smartphones. 
They are hoping to attract chinese customers away from what they currently are buying towards their own products. Who needs an iPad with a tremendous operating system and fantastic graphics when you can have a surface tablet? 
Windows is fighting hard at the moment to stay in the tech game. Not unlike Blackberry, it will need a big push in the smartphone sector in order to make a mark. Although, very much unlike Blackberry, Microsoft is still one of the largest tech companies around. 
It therefore still has some clout in the tech/web industry.

E-commerce in China 

According to JP Morgan, online merchandise will be valued at $436 billion by 2015. I would like to know how they calculate these numbers. Whoever manages to answer my query gets a prize. 
What it means basically, is that online shopping is going though the roof in China and that all those empty shopping malls around our cities will stay empty for a while still until we find something else to do with them. Hey maybe churches! 

Microsoft Closing Down Korea Unit, Moving it to Beijing



Korea is out, China's in. It turns out Microsoft is moving its first non-US Research and Development unit from Korea to China's capital in a bid to emphasize the China side of the market. 

Korea losing out?

Apparently the R&D centre was not linked to Korea directly as it was an international centre, and will therefore not influence Microsoft's activities in the country. Indeed, all personnel were given the option of moving to the US headquarters in Redmond, Washington or being incorporated into one of Korea's other Microsoft Offices. 
It will, however, influence business in its new home as China is where the demand is - at least more so than in Korea. They might claim this does not affect the host country, but then why move it in the first place? An R&D center in China could benefit from being close to the shifting trends in the market. 

Microsoft moving forward in China

Microsoft recently made a deal with Internet giant Baidu to support all English language results, thus firmly turning its attention to China. Furthermore, the "Microsoft Advanced Technology Center" - to use its full name - will focus on various online services such as the Bing search engine and mobile internet services. 
If Microsoft wishes to stay in the race, it will have to seduce the Chinese market. This will involve finding innovative products to push past the other domestic and international companies, vying for the same piece of the cake. China is truly becoming the darling of the electronics world. 

Baidu Chooses Bing for English Search Results

Bing and Baidu team up in China

Chinese search engine Baidu announced a few weeks ago that it signed an agreement with Microsoft Bing.

Baidu-Bing deal

According to the partnership between the two companies, Bing will provide English search results for Baidu.

The terms of the agreement between Baidu and Bing were not disclosed. However, the cooperation will likely work similarly to the Bing-Yahoo agreement signed last year where both companies share the revenues from search engine ads.

Most Chinese Internet users agree to say that Google’s English-language search results are currently more accurate than Baidu. Yet, Baidu service will likely be improved by the partnership with Microsoft.

More than 10 million search queries (in English) are made on Baidu every day, most of them coming from professionals and students. However, this number is not so high compared to the 477 million users claimed by Baidu

Baidu and Bing will help each other 

It has actually been more than a year that Microsoft has searched a search engine partner in China.

Baidu seems the best choice as it is the uncontested search engine leader in China (see search engine market share in China). 

Since Google decided to redirect its mainland users to Google Hong Kong, Microsoft has been trying to develop Bing’s market share in China. Until now, one cannot say that it was very successful since Google still detains 11% of market share and Bing only 1%.

Due to the size of China’s Internet market (more than 485 million Chinese netizens in June 2011 according to CNNIC), every search engine strives to get a slice of the cake. In addition to Baidu, Google and Bing, main competitors include Soso and Sogou.

At the same time, the Baidu-Bing deal is also a good opportunity for Baidu to team up with a multinational company that can help it in an international development. Indeed, the Chinese firm has never hidden its willingness to expand abroad.

While waiting for the Baidu-Bing service to go live (end of this year), this piece of news is a good opportunity for you to check your SEO for Baidu and your SEO for Bing.

Microsoft Joins Alibaba to Test New Search Service


Microsoft and Alibaba testing Etao search engine

As we wrote in one of our previous posts, China's giant eCommerce site Alibaba recently launched a new beta shopping search engine, named Etao

Microsoft takes part in the test since Etao site combines both Alibaba's shopping search engine and a Chinese version of Bing.

Search results are displayed in several groups : first, Taobao listings, then links to related online forums, and finally informational websites and web search results provided by Bing., Microsoft’s new partner in China

Microsoft also recently announced that it teamed up with Shenzhen-based web-hosting and eCommerce site to jointly promote Bing in China.

The one-year strategic agreement makes Bing's exclusive agency in Guangdong.

Microsoft clearly wants to take avantage of's experience in the Chinese eCommerce and online promotion fields. It is important to note that has over 30,000 quality SMS enterprise clients.

Microsoft wants to boost Bing’s market share in China

Even if Baidu outclasses China's search market with a 70% market share, there are some shares to grab for other search engines, notably after Google’s episodes in China.

Indeed, the US search engine's market share fell from 31% in Q1 to 24% in Q2 according to Beijing-based market research firm Analysys International. China’s overall search engine market reached approximately CNY 4.6 billion. 

Bing has currently only 2.4% of the market. Will Microsoft’s partnerships with Chinese firms be enough to boost Bing’s market share in China ?

MSN Launches Advertising Platform in China


The Microsoft Network (MSN) has launched its advertising platform adCenter in China.

Microsoft adCenter targets Chinese exporters

The US Internet giant says it wants to target Chinese exporters willing to advertise overseas. Microsoft adCenter helps businesses advertise online such as on Microsoft's Bing search engine.

The service will earn profits via selling English key words to Chinese companies. These key words, once purchased, appear on search results of Bing, MSN's portal websites, Wall Street Journal, and some famous social networking sites (SNS) like Facebook.

Currently, Microsoft adCenter operates in the US, Canada, UK, France, and Singapore. Microsoft hopes revenue from the pay-per-click ads will account for half of MSN China's business in the future.

Google vs. Microsoft, battle of China

By launching adCenter in ChinaMicrosoft clearly wants to grab market share from rival Google.

In January, Google said it would not filter its content according to Chinese regulation, and threatened to pull out of the country. It later shut down its Chinese site, redirecting  mainland users to its unfiltered site in Hong Kong.

In July, following its standoff with Beijing over filtering search results, Google cut ties with two major Chinese advertising agencies, namely Universal Internet Media and Xi'an Weihua Network.

Google's advertising platform AdWords accounts for about 20% of China's online market. Contrary to Baidu which dominates the market, Bing has a tiny market share, that is why Microsoft looks for a search engine partner in China.

Bing Searches for a Partner in China


As part of its expansion plans, Microsoft is searching for a Chinese partner to boost its Bing market share in China's Internet search market.

A Chinese search partner for Bing?

According to its chief executive for Greater China Simon Leung, the computer giant aims to grow its presence in the country and invest over 100 million dollars into Chinese companies.

Microsoft did not disclose any names of companies the firm was interested in teaming up with. Neverthess, analystis say that Microsoft will likely partner with a domestic search company.

Sohu which develops Sogou search engine, Tencent (Soso) and NetEase (Youdao) appear as possible candidates.

Microsoft wants to boost Bing market share in China

Microsoft clearly wants to boost its weak Bing market share. Bing currently controls only a few percents of the country’s search market.

Contrary to Baidu which dominates China’s search market with a market share over 70%, Bing did not benefit from Google’s Hong Kong move. Google now owns around 21% of the market. Recently, Chinese Internet giant Alibaba invested in Sogou search engine.

Microsoft has already invested around 40 million dollars in domestic firms since 2006. In addition to its search engine ambitions, it also plans on investing in companies in the gaming, cloud computing and software sector.

Yahoo Japan chooses Google as search partner


Yahoo! Japan announced its intention to team up with Google for search and ads.

Google to power Yahoo! Japan for search and ads

This news can seem surprising since Microsoft and Yahoo! created a Search Alliance. Yahoo! won’t therefore use Microsoft’s search engine Bing which however recently released a Japanese beta version.

Currently powered by Yahoo! US, Yahoo! Japan search engine will be powered by Google. Before going for Yahoo! Search Technology , Yahoo! Japan actually already used Google’s search engine from 2001 to 2004.
Under the agreement, Google will provide users with both algorithmic and paid search results. Yahoo! Japan didn’t disclose the date when the partnership will be effective. 

Yahoo! Japan is Japan’s biggest site

Yahoo! Japan is Japan’s leading search engine and the country’s biggest website.

According to market research company NetRatings  (Nielsen Online Japan), around 2.5 billion search queries were conducted on Yahoo! Japan latest June (51% of market share), far ahead of Google’s 1.6 billion and Bing’s 144 million search queries. The total amount of search queries from Japanese home and office computers reached 4.9 billion.
Yahoo! in the US actually owns only a share of around 35% in Yahoo! Japan while the majority owner is Tokyo-based telecommunications and media giant SoftBank with a share of 40%.

Yahoo! and Microsoft search alliance to come


Microsoft and Yahoo! have given an update about the Bing-Yahoo! search platform merger by uploading a new video on their search alliance site.

Microsoft-Yahoo! search alliance

Both companies announced last year an agreement stating that search ad inventory from Yahoo!, Microsoft, and their respective partners would be combined into a unified search marketplace, giving advertisers access to an audience of more than 560 million searchers worldwide.

The aim of this agreement is to create a competitive choice in search for advertisers and consumers. However, the Yahoo! and Microsoft search alliance doesn't include each company's display advertising, web properties and products like email, instant messaging, etc.

The Bing-Yahoo! merger is expected to complete in the end of this year for advertisers in the US and Canada, and Yahoo! promised to complete all global advertisers’ transitions by 2012.

Bing to power search

Microsoft will manage the technology platforms that deliver the algorithmic (powered by Bing - by the way see our post about how to optimize your site for Bing) and paid search results (powered by adCenter) while Yahoo! Search Marketing will be shut down. Yahoo! and Microsoft will continue to have differentiated consumer search experiences.

Moreover, both companies will each provide customer support to different advertiser segments: Yahoo!’s sales team will exclusively support large advertisers, SEO and SEM agencies, and resellers and their clients. Microsoft will support self-service advertisers.

Microsoft adCenter will be the platform for all search campaigns.

An alliance reshaping the search industry

In 2008, Yahoo! tried to quit the search market but negotiations to sign a deal with Google came to naught. 

The alliance enables Bing’s and Yahoo!’s US search market share to go up to 32% (Bing 13% and Yahoo 19%) compared to Google’s 63% (data by ComScore’s US search market share report of June 2010).

Though, I'm not sure this alliance will be enough to counter Google. The US leading search engine remains wiser and better than its rivals as you can check in our SEO comparison on keywords between Google and Bing and our SEO test about national vs. international domain name extensions.

Comparison of web design: global vs. Chinese version

them beijing web design

Today let's have a look at the web design of popular websites and let's focus on the main differences between their global and Chinese version.

Here is the comparison of some well-known sites and their Chinese version:


There are some significative differences in web design between and

As you can see below, the Chinese site displays a complete menu (from top search to comment space) at the top of the page in addition to another focused on the catalogue on the left like in the global version.

Some functionnalities differ and are not located at the same position in both sites. For example, the cart icon isn't integrated in the search box but displayed in the top menu on

Plus, you can notice that the color used on Amazon China's website is a light blue shading compared to a plain dark blue on the worldwide website. You can also see that's logo is still displayed on the webpage (Amazon acquired the Chinese bookstore in 2004).

Amazon global homepage screenshot

Amazon China homepage screenshot



Let's now compare the design of Google's websites. As you know, now redirects to after Google decided in March 2010 to stop censoring its search results in China.

The main web design difference between and consists of the numerous icons displayed under the search box in the Hongkongese version that enable users to access directly Google's services.

 Google global homepage screenshot

Google HK homepage screenshot



No difference in the  web design of Apple's global and Chinese websites. Check it out yourself:

 Apple global homepage screenshot

 Apple China homepage screenshot



Yahoo! China's homepage might look similar to the global page: they both display a large block of news content in the middle of their homepage. However, the menu on the left of the page offers more functionnalities on than on

There are also differencies in the other blocks (for example 'trending now' vs. access to email on the right).

You can also compare the length of the two versions. Yahoo! China's homepage is very long compared to global's (I cut the homepage screenshot though to enable you to read the end of this post without scrolling down too much...).

 Yahoo! global homepage screenshot

 Yahoo! China homepage screenshot



The main difference between and is the position of the search box within the site. On the global version, the search box is located just under the logo at the top of the home page whereas it is more down in the Chinese website. The organization of the blocks also largely differs.

Ebay global homepage screenshot

 Ebay China homepage screenshot



When I look at MSN's global and Chinese websites, I can see many differences in the homepage pages: not the same structure, not the same colors. However, there is always the bing search box at the top. The global version looks much lighter than its Chinese equivalent to me.

MSN global homepage screenshot

MSN China homepage screenshot



The web design of Microsoft's global website homepage differs from the Chinese site only by the color: sky blue to light blue shading vs. orange to white shading for the Chinese version. Do you have any idea why they chose these colors ? I don't know but has the same web design as Microsoft China's website...

Microsoft global homepage screenshot

Microsoft China homepage screenshot


As you can see above, some companies decided to have the same website design as their global website and only translate content for their Chinese version. Others display a different web design and modify their website structure.

The challenge for global websites is of course to strengthen their brand image and adapt China's market at the same time.

If you're interested in web design, you can also visit our previous articles about themes for Drupal to donwload and web design templates.

Bing Visual Search : Beautiful and Useless

bing visual search

What is bing visual search? well it's just a "new way" for navigation online, using images instead of words. You can for example chose a theme (travel) that you recognise with the image, and then chose a city, that you try to recognise with the image. Actually, i was looking for beijing, and it's impossible to recognize it. it's not the forbidden city, nor the summer palace, it's some view maybe from chaoyang which was used...


Visual Search Goes Faster?

microsoft says the search is faster. trueth is the search is... longer. specially when at the end, if you click on the picture of beijing, all they are doing actually is... typing beijing for you in the search field of bing... is that a joke? no... doesn't it go faster to type "beijing" in the search field... "YES, it does".


Silverlight Needed

To use this "new way" for surfing, you need to install silverlight, the microsoft competitor product for flash. is it worth it? NO. I'll keep you posted and will tell you if something new is really interesting, but for this, it's just not interesting, not important, useless thing. but it's beautiful, is that enough?

i'll give you the link anyways, but i warned you click here for bing visual search (but you'd better keep on reading this seo blog ;0)