Google or Baidu for your Chinese search engine marketing (SEM) campaign on the Chinese market?
Often we are asked by business owners whether they should choose Baidu or Google to launch Chinese-language search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns in order to reach out to Chinese speak populations. To answer this question, let's first take a look at the statistics of the search engine usage in China.
Though Google is by far the most popular search engine in the world, but unfortunately Google services are practically inaccessible from mainland China, except for people who use VPN or some other methods to bypass the firewalls. For political reasons, Google withdrew from mainland China market in 2010, shutting down Google China service and redirecting requests to the Google site based in Hong Kong.
Major Internet Search Engines Used in Mainland China
- Baidu (www.baidu.com)
Launched in 2000, Baidu and was one of the earliest Chinese search engines. As in 2015, Baidu is still seen as the most popular search engine used in mainland China, consists about 64% of Chinese search engine market share. However, in recent years, Baidu's dominant position has been increasingly challenged by other Chinese search engines and lost some market share to its competitors.
2. Qihoo 360 Search (www.so.com)
Launched in 2012 as so.com ("so" means search in Chinese), briefly rebranded as Hao So (meaning good search) in 2015, but renamed back to so.com in early 2016. Qihoo 360 is the second largest search engine in China. According to CNZZ survey, Qihoo 360 accounts close to 22% of the internet search market in China.
3. Sogou (www.sogou.com)
Sogou, a subsidiary of Sohu, was launched in 2004. In 2013, Chinese tech giant Tencent invested in Sogou. Sogou owns about 7% of the internet searches in China.
4. Google (www.google.hk)
Because Google services are practically inaccessible from mainland China, Google only has an about 1.7% of market share on mainland China search engine market. However, in Hong Kong Google has a market share of about 52.34%.
If your business is interested in reaching out to mainland China Chinese market, it is better to choose Baidu for your search engine marketing campaign. Alternatively, Qihoo 360 and Sogou can also be considered.
However, if the main focus of your business is Chinese speaking populations outside mainland China, e.g., in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore or any other countries, then Google is obviously the best choice.