Exploring Baidu, the Google of China

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robin li baidus founder

Robin Li, the founder of Baidu

Baidu is a Chinese web services company headquartered in Beijing. Established in 2000 by Robin Li, Baidu is now the biggest search engine in China. Baidu offers many services, including a Chinese language-search engine for websites, audio files and images.In March 2015, Baidu ranked 4th overall in the Alexa Internet rankings.

Company Profile

Name: Baidu
Website: www.baidu.com
Founder: Robin Li (Net worth: 12.5 billion USD)
Core Business: web search

Basic Information

  • As of 2006, Baidu provided an index of over 740 million web pages, 80 million images, and 10 million multimedia files.
  • Baidu offers multimedia content including MP3 music, and movies, and is the first in China to offer Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and personal digital assistant (PDA)-based mobile search.
  • In December 2007, Baidu became the first Chinese company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 index.
  • During Q4 of 2010, it is estimated that there were 4.02 billion search queries in China of which Baidu had a market share of 56.6%.
  • China’s Internet-search revenue share in second quarter 2011 by Baidu is 76%.
  • By June of 2015, there were reportedly 667.79 million internet users in China.
  • Baidu has a 79.8% market share in China, competing with Google China and Sogou.

Service/Product

As China’s answer to Google, Baidu develops a variety of services to accommodate every aspect of their consumer’s online life. The picture below lists all the Baidu products. Their core web search services are shown in the blue box. Their main mobile services appear in the green box.

Above are Baidu’s most popular services in China.

Market Share

Baidu is the most widely used search engine in China according to this 2015 CNNIC survey. It is ranked as number 1 in terms of web penetration rate at 92.1%. It is followed by Sogou/Soso league (45.8%), and then by 360 search (38.6%) and finally by Google China (27.4%) which comes in 4th place.

Overall and mobile penetration rate among popular China search engine providers.

Above are China’s search engine providers. Overall web penetration is compared to mobile penetration.

In this 2013 CNNIC report, 86.7% of Chinese netizens prefer to use Baidu’s search engine. This is due to its early entry into the Chinese market and its successful branding. Its biggest competitor, 360 Search, has only an 8.8% market share. 360 Search gains most of its market share from its subsidiary anti-virus software, Qihoo 360.

A chart shows China netizens in favor of Baidu compared to other search engines.

This chart shows Baidu’s dominance over other search engines in China.

Internet Usage in China

According to the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC), there has been a steady increase of Chinese internet users between 2011 and 2015. As of June 2015, the number of Chinese internet users reached 667.69 million.

Internet users in China from 2011 to 2015.

Internet users in China from 2011 to 2015.

Three factors that drove internet user growth between 2014 and 2015:

  • The Chinese government issued laws that strengthened network security and internet governance. This boosted the development of the internet and new media in China.
  • Chinese internet providers like China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom all began offering 4G.
  • China began focusing on the internet after Chinese internet giants like Sina Weibo, Baidu, JD.com (Jingdong), and Alibaba were listed on the US Nasdaq.

Recent News

In September 2015, Baidu started collaborating with Microsoft to embed Baidu into its new browser, Microsoft Edge. Baidu now powers Microsoft Edge’s search option and is also set as the browser’s home page.

Baidu’s new robot, Xiao Du, had a short chat with China Premier Li Keqiang and Baidu founder Robin Li at an innovation conference.

China Permier Li Keqiang having a conversation with Baidu Robot, Xiao Du, on October 20th 2015.

There are rumors that Google will come back to China and pose as Baidu’s biggest competitor.

Rumors covering the possibility of Google coming back to China.

There are rumors of Google’s possible return to China.

About Author

Social Brand Watch (SBW) is a collection of experts in digital, mobile and social media in China. SBW was created to complement Resonance's China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly report focusing on modern marketing methods of the world's top brands in China.

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