China’s search market was dominated by Baidu and Google in quarter four of 2008, in which it reached 131.3 million US dollar of revenue. China’s number one search engine Baidu.com was still in the lead with 60.1% share while Google came second with 25.9% share, according to research company Analysys International.
MP3 and Music Search
Google China decided to partner with Top100.cn to compete with Baidu’s free MP3 search by offering free music search (Google Music Search). The music search was quietly launched and is currently still not listed on Google China’s “More Product” page (www.google.cn/intl/zh-CN/options/).
Large part of Baidu’s success has been credited to its free music search engine (mp3.baidu.com), with most of the music files found by Baidu being pirated. Baidu managed to win after the Chinese Court ruling in which Baidu did not infringe copyright by just linking to infringing music.
Rankings on Organic Search and Paid Search
Baidu was accused of deliberately manipulating the organic search rankings to increase sales on paid search advertising, but denied such accusations. However, Baidu repeatedly insisted its commitment to clearly separate sponsored links from natural search results by launching a project codenamed “Phoenix Nest”.
Google published some comprehensive policies for users who are to advertise in China. Under the policies, advertisers of many product categories (for example, health supplement, medical services, and so on) are required to submit business licenses and approval certificates.
Baidu slipped up again by allowing some unlicensed health-care companies to place top spot ads in its search results. In November, Baidu’s traffic was affected and it triggered a traffic surge for Google.
Baidu entered China’s C2C battle to compete with Alibaba group’s Taobao.com by launching its C2C site Youa.Baidu.com. Shortly afterwards, Taobao.com stopped all its advertisements from appearing on Baidu and disabled itself from being indexed by Baidu.com. Baidu’s Youa countered by providing users easy tools to automatically export all their product data from Taobao and other C2C sites to Youa.
Google made no progress towards China’s C2C market and stayed away from one of its many unfamiliar Chinese territories.
How other blogs talked about Baidu vs Google in China:
- Google’s Real Fight in China
- Baidu: Slience is Not Golden, It’s Poison
- Google Aims to Crack China with Music Push