Chinese Search Engine Landscape – Baidu Losing to 360 and Sogou

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Google, Bing and Yahoo play an important role in the search engine market in most of the western world, however, the search engine market’s key players are completely different further east. In China, a country with the world’s largest amount of internet users, reaching 642 million in 2014, represents nearly 22% of world’s total. Even more astonishing, China has more internet users than the next top three countries combined – United States, India and Japan.

In China, the top 3 search engines are Baidu, 360 and Sogou. Google, Bing and Yahoo, together with other small Chinese search engines only total to of 2.03% of the entire search engine market.

Chinese Search Engine Landscape – Baidu Losing to 360 and Sogou 01

Source: CNZZ – updated on Aug 2014

 

What are the market changes over the past 3 years?

There was a big shift within the Chinese search engine market over the past 3 years. In 2011, Baidu played a dominant role with over 85% of the market share, but in August 2014, this dropped to 54% losing market share to 360 and Sogou – both Search Engines has been growing its user base consistently over the past 3 years.

Chinese Search Engine Landscape – Baidu Losing to 360 and Sogou 02

Chinese Search Engine Landscape – Baidu Losing to 360 and Sogou 03

As there are already a lot of information on Baidu, we thought it would be useful to highlight the other two search giants in China.

360

Qihoo 360 – officially launched its search engine product in Aug 2012.

360 has a broad product line with many different verticals, its anti-virus software and web browser takes 27.85% of the entire web browser market in China (see chart below). Along with its web browser usage growth in China, its search product also continues to experience a steady growth.

Chinese Search Engine Landscape – Baidu Losing to 360 and Sogou 04

In Jan 215, 360 launched its new product (haosou.com), original domain(so.com)which now redirects to the new domain. The 360 president Qi Xiangdong sent a message to all employees, that “the new product will be focusing on its O2O (Online to Offline), entertainment and customised search recommendation in order to break through its mobile search market”. He also highlighted that “360 aim is to achieve 40% of the PC search market share, and 30% mobile search market share in 2 years”.

Sogou

Not far behind 360, Sogou also increased its market share from 5.31% in August 2011 to nearly 15% in August 2014. Much like 360, riding on the back of already popular products like Chinese typing input and web browser, Sogou officially launched the new version of its Search Engine in June 2014, which enables search content on WeChat – China’s top social media platform. Sogou is the first in the industry to have this function. Sogou is able to capture data from WeChat so that users can search WeChat Public IDs and news articles published on this Social platform.

Insights

The search engine market in China has shifted from mainly Baidu to 3 major players.

When advertising your brands on the search engines (E.g. Chinese PPC campaign), instead of only advertising on Baidu, you should integrate 360 and Sogou into your campaign, together, they currently account for 43.95% of the market share.

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