In July the China Internet Information Network Center (CNNIC) published its bi-annualreport into the state of the internet in China (report in Chinese).

The report is a good guide into the browsing behaviour of netizens, the common phrase used to describe Chinese internet users.

The report is based on surveys sampling 30,000 Chinese residents older than six, from all of China’s administrative regions.

In this article, I’m going to examine the implications of the report and use the findings to help guide B2B marketers to understand the search engine market in China.

For more on this topic read Econsultancy's other posts on seven on-page SEO tips for Baidu, or download the Baidu Search Best Practice Guide.

Chinese internet users

As of June 2014 the number of Chinese netizens went up from 618m to 632m, a 2% increase from December 2013. The internet penetration rate in China now stands at 46.9%, well below the rate in America and Europe.

Mobile netizens increased by 5% to 527m. The number of Chinese web users who use a mobile device to connect to the internet increased by 2.4%.

Chinese web users also cemented their reputation as heavy users of the internet by spending an average of 26 hours online. This is an increase of around one hour compared to six months ago.

In fact, when compared to a year ago the increase in time spent online is around four hours. Between June 2012 and June 2013 the increase was closer to two hours.

To all intents and purposes the internet population in China is growing at a steady rate. Internet usage is on a steady upward trend too. 

The question that always interests me, though, is what do Chinese netizens do when they go online?

Chinese search engines

One thing Chinese internet users do is use search engines to find information, products and services on the web.

In the six months from December 2013, Chinese search engine use rose from 490m to 507m people. On mobile 406m people used a search engine, up from 365m people in December 2013.

There are five well-known search engines in China: Baidu (百度), 360 Search (360搜索), Soso (搜搜), Sogou (搜狗搜索) and Youdao (有道). The former two make up around 84% of the market share.

A search for 'Burberry' on Baidu

In January 2013 Baidu (baidu.com) held 72% of the search engine market in China and Qihoo’s 360 Search (so.com) had 11%. By January 2014 things had changed significantly. 

Baidu’s market share had dropped to 58%, while Qihoo’s had increased to 25% matching exactly the amount of market share that Baidu lost.

What has come out of this is the fact that Baidu and 360 Search are the undisputed market leaders of online search in China, in both users and market share.

Baidu and Qihoo

Qihoo’s rapid expansion of its market share and users has seen its revenues increase and marketers are seeing potential there. In the first three months of 2014 Qihoo 360 rang up US$265.1m in revenue, a 141.3% increase from Q1 2013.

By comparison, Baidu generated US$1.53bn during this same period. These numbers don’t suggest that 360 Search now holds 25% of the paid search market. But 360 Search’s rapid growth has got marketers in China interested nonetheless.

Qihoo has grown its search engine from nothing to 25% market share in the space of two years. It has a 5% larger audience than it had a year ago. Netizens using its PC browsers rose by 2% compared to last year.

Qihoo 360 is China’s leading internet browser and security software suite. Monthly active users of its PC-based products and services have clocked in at a huge 479m people.

A search for 'Burberry' on 360 Search (so.com)

It is the mainland's fastest-growing online search service and undisputed number one internet security provider.

On the other hand, Baidu is the basis of comparison for all other search engines in China. It has the highest usage of all the other search engines on the market. In Q1 2014 keyword advertising was still the top priority of Chinese advertisers.

In 2013 keyword advertising and contextual advertising brought the primary revenue in the Chinese search engine market. Search engine advertising revenue, namely revenue from keyword ads and display ads, accounted for 87.8% of the total revenues of search engines.


According to iResearch keyword advertising revenue took up 74.1% of the Chinese search engine market. Revenue from display ads of advertising alliance and navigation ads accounted for 13.7% and 4.5% respectively.

Why use Baidu and 360 Search?

One reason that so.com is becoming popular for paid advertising in China is because it tends to have a lower cost per click (CPC) than Baidu in many industries. Conversion rates on 360 Search tend to be lower for comparable projects though.

In the long term I’d suggest that conversion rates on so.com will improve. This is particularly true for businesses that face less competition in their niche who are likely to find a lower CPC on 360 Search.

Users and marketers know what they get from Baidu and therefore conversion rates are higher. People use what they trust, but as the market is shifting so are user’s perceptions.

But from a digital marketing point of view Baidu is still best. It is constantly updated and therefore is always ahead of the game.

Baidu has a very good desktop editor and good security and click-fraud protection. It also has a very useful remarketing functionality built into its display network. There are 600,000 websites that partner with Baidu to display banner ads.

Baidu is China’s most popular search engine and this will be the case for a while to come. But the market is slowly shifting and savvy marketers are looking at ways to leverage the new players on the market.

Final thoughts

So.com is now accounting for a quarter of all internet queries in China. In August 2014 the usage rate of so.com was 29%.

Qihoo has managed to build a captive audience for its portal, browser, and security software. This captive audience has helped drive users to its search engine, so.com. 

So far, 2014 has seen 360 Search drive up revenues from paid search advertising. There is still plenty of room for both Baidu and Qihoo 360 to co-exist in China’s paid search marketing space.

If Qihoo’s revenues increase in line with its increase in market share and users, then 360 Search will start to become a very popular platform for advertising. It’s for this reason that marketers in China have been attracted to using 360 Search for paid advertising.

What will emerge in the near future is a clearer understanding of which platform has a better conversion rate for certain industries. Also, it will be easier to compare cost per click statistics for both search engines once 360 Search is more widely used for paid search marketing.

Do you use either Baidu or 360 Search for paid advertising? If you have any questions please leave a comment. I’d also love to hear your thoughts.

Author : Misha Maruma
Source : econsultancy.com

Categorized in Market Research

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Baidu, China's leading search engine, and Ainemo Inc., China's top technology driven consumer electronic company, jointly unveiled "Little Fish" (Chinese name: Xiaoyu Zaijia), a voice-controlled family robot powered by Baidu's AI at Digital Experience! and CES 2017. With the partnership of these two industry leaders, "Little Fish" is positioned to become one of the top home assistants in the world.

"Little Fish" is powered by DuerOS, Baidu's AI assistant platform. It takes the user experience to the next level with the addition of a screen that can show visual aids for more engaging user interactions and assistance. Users may interact with "Little Fish" through voice conversations to enjoy music, explore news, get answers, request on-demand services, manage calendars, control home appliances, make video calls and more. Unlike other AI assistants, "Little Fish" (Xiaoyu Zaijia) features a large screen, which opens up the ability to video chat and stream visual content directly from the device.

"Little Fish" powered by DuerOS
"Little Fish" powered by DuerOS
Conversational AI OS for everyone and everywhere
Conversational AI OS for everyone and everywhere

Baidu DuerOS is the conversational AI OS for everyone and everywhere. It is the gateway to Baidu's extensive Internet ecosystem through the most natural user interface - voice. This ecosystem includes Baidu's massive local services platform where tens of millions of people buy movie tickets, order takeout food, request cleaning services and more. The platform will not only allow users to easily get information but also to get access to a variety of on demand services (known in China as O2O or online to offline). 

"Together with Ainemo Inc., we were able to combine the best hardware with state of the art AI technologies to deliver an advanced and easier user experience," said Kun Jing, Chairman of Baidu A.I. Product Committee, GM of Baidu DuerOS.

"We believe family robots will be the next big category that will be a member of everybody's home, but it has to be useful and reliable, helping to solve real problems in people's lives," said Chenfeng Song, founder and CEO of Ainemo Inc. "Chinese families, especially with kids and seniors, still have difficulty using today's new technologies. They will now have the opportunity to connect with family members and manage their everyday life by simply talking to a robot. This is the ultimate A.I. virtual assistant, offering users a level of control and communication like never before."

"A.I. is a valuable new tool that will surely change many industries and become the next trillion-dollar market," said Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, founder & CEO of Sinovation Ventures. "With this smart device, people at home can free up their hands and have reliable assistance in a few key things like making phone calls and playing music, searching for information, etc.  The assistant gets smarter over time by adding new skills and learning about the family's behaviors."

Featuring an "A.I. Brain," "Little Fish" not only assists, but also learns. The innovative device expands its knowledge regularly, becoming smarter and more efficient day by day. Whether it is ordering takeout, purchasing movie tickets, or connecting with family, friends, or colleagues who are away from each other, "Little Fish" offers a caliber of assistance like never before.

For more information and a first look at "Little Fish" (Xiaoyu Zaijia), please visit www.zaijia.com.  
For more information about Baidu DuerOS, please visit http://duer.baidu.com

Executives from Baidu and the Founder & CEO of Ainemo Inc. are available to media for interviews Jan. 4-6.

For media inquiries and/or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Angela Tang

Mobile:  (86)18611729490 
Email:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leo Zou 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leon Zhang:  

Mobile: 510-5414536 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Ainemo Inc.

Founded in 2014 in Beijing, Ainemo Inc. is a technology driven consumer electronic company. We make useful home robots powered by A.I. Ainemo has completed Series A, B and B+ rounds of investments over 30 million US dollars from Sinovation Ventures (formerly known as Innovation Works), Chengwei Capital, Lightspeed China Partner and Foxconn.

Ainemo's flagship product "Little Fish" (Chinese name: Xiaoyu Zaijia) is an intelligent voice-controlled family robot that facilitates communication inside and outside home. Users may interact with "Little Fish" through voice conversations to make video calls, leave messages, control home appliances, play music and news, seek information, ask for O2O (Online to Offline) services, interact with chatbots and more.

In a little over a year, "Little Fish" has grown its user base in more than 35 countries and over 550 cities.

About DuerOS

DuerOS is a conversational AI OS for everyone and everywhere, built by Chinese search giant Baidu. DuerOS is an artificial intelligence OS that sets itself apart from traditional OS by allowing the user to interact mainly through voice conversations and it's A.I. Brain in cloud, which improves daily.

A.I. is the new electricity, and DuerOS is Baidu's A.I. implementation. For any DuerOS powered devices, users can interact with them through voice conversations. People can enjoy music, explore news, get answers, request on-demand services, manage calendar, control home appliance, , and use other intelligent personal assistant features simply through voice conversations. DuerOS can be run on phones, smart speakers, robots, televisions, cars, wearables, and many other devices.

SOURCE Baidu; Ainemo Inc.

Source : http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/chinese-search-giant-baidu-and-ainemo-inc-introduce-the-ai-powered-family-robot-300386178.html

Categorized in Search Engine

With 688 million Internet users and growing, China has become a compelling market for Western companies looking to expand globally. What makes it this market even more enticing is the number of Chinese Internet users is growing at a rate that far surpasses that of most countries, which speaks to the business growth potential in the marketplace.

Despite the incredible potential, China is a unique market, and many companies lack the knowledge and expertise necessary to succeed in online marketing in China. In fact, most marketers have no idea where to start.

As a digital marketing agency providing international services, we often suggest our clients start with the search engine. It’s the ideal entry place to begin gaining visibility and traction in a new marketplace.

The goal of this article is to give B2B marketers an idea of why search engine marketing is important in China and why Chinese search engines are different from Google or Bing, or other Western search engines.

A Great User Base and a Broad Business Adoption

First, let me offer a few statistics to illustrate the breadth and depth of the online marketplace in China. According to the data from CNNIC (Chinese Internet Network Information Center), as of December 2015, there were 566 million people using search engines, which accounts for the majority of Chinese Internet users (82.3 percent) and it’s an increase of 44 million users year-over-year.

In comparison, there are an estimated 219 million search engine users in the United States in 2016, which was only 4 million more than 2015.

Users are not only conducting personal searches, but search engines are also being used in business settings. As of December 2015, 33.8% of enterprises had launched Internet-based marketing activities and about half (47.4 percent) had invested in search engine marketing.

Online sales and marketing efforts in China are still in the early stages of development, but their use is growing quickly with the growth of technology and e-commerce.

A study from Nielson shows, online sales currently comprise 11 percent of total retail sales in China, but it’s growing at a significant rate – 53 percent! – year-over-year.

Not Google, But Baidu, Qihoo 360 & Sogou

When Western marketers talk about search engine marketing, Google is the big player. However, it is a different story in China. Google left Mainland China in 2010 due to censorship.

Since then, when users type Google.cn, they will be redirected to Google.hk, which is Google’s Hong Kong presence. Even like this, only a few Chinese people use Google.hk; right now, Google only accounts for 0.34% market share by usage in China.

In China, the top three search engine players are Baidu, Qihoo360 (also known as Haosou), and Sogou. Baidu has 54.3 percent of the market share of usage, Qihoo 360 accounts for 29.24 percent, and Sogou holds 14.71 percent.

In 2015, total search engine advertising revenue reached 68.26 billion RMB (US$10.55 billion) – an increase of 32.2.7 percent YoY, according to iResearch. In terms of revenue, Baidu continues to be the leader of the Chinese search engine market (80 percent) followed by Google, Qihoo360, and Sogou.

China Search Engine Market Share

Let’s take a closer look at each of the big three Chinese search engines:

Baidu

Overview of Baidu

Established in 2000, Baidu is the number one search engine in China. It is ranked as the fourth most visited website in the world by Alexa.com and holds the second largest share of the global desktop search engine market (behind Google).

Every day, 6 billion searches are performed on Baidu. It’s as familiar to the Chinese as Google is to Americans. When you have a question in China, Chinese would tell you, “Ask Mother Du.”

Unique Features

Baidu claims that it is the best Chinese search not only because they know Chinese better, but also because they know Chinese audiences better.

A Baidu company profile explains the technology this way, “Just to cite one example, we believe there are at least 38 ways of saying “I” in the Chinese language. It is important that we recognize these nuances to effectively address our users’ requests.”

To complement its search engine, Baidu has dozens of featured products. One of the major differences between Google and Baidu is that Baidu favors its own platforms/products in its search results.

For example, when users search for “search engine optimization,” the first three positions of the organic search results are Baidu Baike (Baidu Encyclopedia), Baidu TieBa (Baidu PostBar) and Baidu Baike (Baidu Encyclopedia). Then, the sixth result is Baidu Zhidao (Baidu Knows), and the eighth result is Baidu Wenku (Baidu Articles).

Organic Search Results in Baidu

B2B Marketing Takeaway

From a B2B marketing perspective, many of these free Baidu products offer an integrated way to enhance SEO efforts. In addition, Baidu’s free analytics tools can help webmasters analyze their efforts.

Qihoo 360

Overview of Qihoo 360

Qihoo 360 started from an Internet security company with a broad product line. Their antivirus software has a good reputation in China and it’s free to use. By pairing with the security products, Qihoo 360 search adopted a broad audience when it launched in 2012.

It is the default search engine used in the 360 Internet browsers, which is helping to sustain its continuing growth. Within a short period, Qihoo 360 has become the second largest search engine in China and the fastest rising competitor to Baidu.

China Serach Engine Market Share

Unique Features

Qihoo 360 search claims that it is the most secure search engine. Relying on the advanced cyber security technology of the parent company, Qihoo 360 search can block fake or malicious sites and provide a more secure search environment.

Also, because of its broad product line, which includes security products, an Internet browser, and apps, Qihoo 360 search has positioned itself as the biggest native advertising platform in China.

Meanwhile, Qihoo 360 search targets small and medium businesses for their advertising platform. This strategy may be mainly to attract businesses that probably could not afford the more expensive ad spend on Baidu.

Another benefit of Qihoo 360 is its search results page only has a few advertisements. This gives advertisers an opportunity to avoid the tense competition on Baidu and grab niche traffic at a much lower cost-per-click.

B2B Marketing Takeaway

While Qihoo 360’s lower CPC may be attractive, it still cannot compete with the Baidu’s technology and reach in the search space. It is better to use it as an extra testing channel to supplement a company’s Baidu program and leverage the ROI, rather than to start with it exclusively.

Sogou

Overview of Sogou

Sogou was launched in 2004, but its use was not widespread until more recently. After developing the most popular Chinese input software in China, people started to get familiar with this brand. Also, Tencent, the fourth largest Internet company in the world, invested in Sogou in 2013. This investment fast-tracked Sogou’s growth.

Unique Features

As a rising star of the Chinese search engine market, Sogou has sought out a niche position. With the strong support from Tencent, Sogou exclusively provides the search results of Wechat content (Wechat, the most popular social media in China, is owned by Tencent).

Seeing the success from its Wechat integration, Sogou partnered with Zhihu (a popular question-and-answer site) to integrate more content search results.

More recently, in May 2016, Sogou announced a collaboration with Microsoft Bing and launched two new products: Sogou English Search and Sogou Scholar Search.
Sogou Screen

B2B Marketing Takeaway

Gradually, Sogou has taken the unique position as a content searching provider in order to attract users and expand market share. With the growth of content marketing overall, B2B marketers should keep an eye on Sogou’s growth and development.

Final Thoughts

Chinese search engines play a significant role in the population’s life every day for both personal and professional purposes. B2B companies looking to leverage China’s large and growing online market need to develop visibility on China’s biggest search engines.

However, in order to have any chance at success in the marketplace, a strong understanding of the Chinese search engine space is necessary. Search engine marketing that works for Google and other Western search engines doesn’t always translate to China’s search engines or resonate with Chinese customers.

Due diligence research into the marketplace is the first step toward developing a China-specific marketing strategy.

Author : REBECCA LI

Source : http://www.komarketingassociates.com/blog/top-3-chinese-search-engines/

Categorized in Search Engine

airs logo

Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.

Follow Us on Social Media

Book Your Seat for Webinar GET FREE REGISTRATION FOR MEMBERS ONLY      Register Now