Based on the latest search engine survey report by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), three searchers out of four searchers in China use Baidu as their primary search engine. This represent over 10% growth over last year results (62%). According to the same report, Google share has also changed by about 10% but on the red side, sharply decreasing from 25.3% to 14.3% over a one year period.
Below are some of the key statistics from the report:
-Top 5 Players: Baidu (74.5%), Google (14.3%), Sohu (2.8%), Yahoo (2.1%) and Sina (1.7%). No other portal has more than 0.6%
-Head to head Baidu vs Google: First tier cities: 67.33% vs 22.11%; Second tier cities: 73.35% vs 14.78%; Third tier cities: 83.82% vs 4.99%; high end users (aged 25 or more, with bachelor degree or more, earning 3,000RMB or more per month): 47.72% vs 42.32%
The study has been done primarily through telephone interview, with 3337 people contacted, of which 1212 in first tier cities, 1062 in second tier cities and 1063 in third tier cities.
This study and several others which all reveal a progress in Baidu’s market share and a decline in Google’s one should make clear to internet marketers targeting the Chinese market that Google reach should not be overestimated and that Baidu cannot be ignored if one really wants to get optimial exposure in China. Until very recently Google was at least leading in the high-end market but seem to be surpassed by Baidu there too. Advertisers which primary markets are not Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen or the like have little incentive to use Google for their online campaigns.
Another lesson from the report would be the confirmation if needed of the death of Yahoo and the failure by Jack Ma to at least maintain if not grow the search engine position as previously hoped for after the Alibaba acquisition.