Originally Posted by Rubber Duck
Technically, Baidu is an American company!
Unfortunately this is it's biggest problem if the truth is known - something that perhaps will be less of a problem over the longer term
i.e. foreign knowledge of information searches within China and support of a locally based player over an internationally based player.
However, as China continues to rise internationaly, it will also continue to become more accountable internationally... and things have to become fairer over time.
Also the fear of a USA company knowing too much on search data, will diminish more and more over time as well... and in reality, if there was an emphasis on this concern at the moment, then Google wouldn't even be in the market position they are at present (so balance those comments too).
But saying this, Baidu, like Naver in Korea, is never going to disappear and will always be Nationally supported (interestings Baidu seem to be copying the Naver model a lot as they move forward with changes, but that is a sideline topic).
Likewise under WTO, China can never pressure Google out of the market (and it is not commercially sensible for them to even try too).
In regards to the negatives addressed to Google...
The truth is that Google has the technical ability to censor much better than Baidu and really these arguments are just puppet shadow play.
Ok - the point of my post, is some additional comments to balance the article... as I personally think it missed one important reality of the search market in China, which is very relevant to IDNs and domain development investors in China (like ourselves)...
Namely:- Business is about earnings potentials... not only shadow puppet play, at the end of the day (and the fact is that Google's share of profitable searches is not as low, as their share of the overall search market).
An important insight I feel is:-
a) Google seems to be used by the more educated (and weathier users) on the whole.
b) Google is getting, much more than it's overall market share %, as a % of earnings for PPC adspend (the area where Baidu is earning almost all it's revenues).
So, why would Google be given more than it's % of overall market search share?
The fact that the wealth is not evenly spread throughout China is not lost on anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes in China and this is also not lost on Chinese based advertisers either - Chinese as we all know are good at doing business and sorting out what earns for them
i.e. profit potential from search users in many cities, towns and provinces that Baidu has dominance in, is not worth much commercially, due to income levels and online spending patterns in those places.
If you have ever analysed search data on these two search engines, for any industry, you will see that Google:-
a) seems to be getting a much higher % of the potentially commercial earning type searches... and
b) additionally a much higher % of searches from those who have the $ to spend (in terms of location and propensity to spend)
This is therefore why, as I know many Chinese companies split their adspend 50/50 between Google and Baidu - interestingly enough Google is not ignored or only given it's smaller % of overall China search share as adspend.
Additionally as C2C and even moreso B2C ecommerce develops more in China, I think people will continue to see a much, much higher $ return / conversion rates per visitor from Google verse Baidu and therefore Google will maintain it's adspend revenues at a higher %, than the overall market share it dominates.
So will Google gain #1 position in terms of % of searches - probably never... but. will they gain a higher % of adspend revenue (perhaps this will happen faster than people expect and if foreign $ spent on China adspend gets taken into account, I think they will definitely be the #1 for earnings potential and usefulness for commercial advertising, in relation to China).
Main Point: As investors, we need to understand which search engines offer traffic with real earnings potential for us.
So I would say, balance the optimism and usefulness of both search engines - neither will control all of the search market or potential revenues.
However all is good for us really... we do want more than one player in the search market, both now and in the longterm... as dominance by one, means higher costs or losses for us all (and higher earnings only for the search engine company which dominates).
Lastly, so people understand the reason why I made this post...
I am not trying to start a big discussion on Google, Baidu and China or International business policies (infact, I don't think that is helpful to us here)... I am just trying to balance the search market issues, so that those of you who spend time developing or investing in Chinese IDNs and sites, understand that Baidu, definitely should not be the sole focus (or even perhaps 1st focus) of efforts for search volume earnings potentials in China.
So all is good for us as IDNers... and in the search engine market, all will come out in the wash over time!
Cheers all (and hope comments are useful to some) - Asiaplay
Sorry guys, some of the above comments are more based on a feeling, I have from research done on traffic and I have no hard data to back it up across a market the size of China - however I think it was worth raising these points, for discussion's sake and to balance that article's perhaps over-optimism for Baidu.
b) Interest comment...
This split of users by education and wealth question, is why I think we saw those graphs appear on Baidu's search results (as they know this is an issue for them and that people are picking up on this fact of split of spending potential market share they actually hold).
However the data shown at that time, was so obviously inaccurate and laughable, that they withdrew it quickly, within a week or two of it appearing...
(i.e. it most likely highlighted their weakness, more than it gave them any help to explain why they have a market share which is commercially superior to Googles)...
However, it will be interesting to see what reappears later, in place of that data... as I am sure that project is not dead in the water.