Wednesday, September 27, 2006

No more song to sing, Guge?

Only one week after a CIC survey, many web surfers in China found out today there was Guge no more!

The very familiar but less welcomed has changed it's logo from back to the original one Google.

Has Google given up Guge or just a technical glitch?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Chinese Webmasters Prefer Google and Baidu

According to the report, 55.8% of Chinese webmasters chose Google Adsense, while 45% of them chose Baidu Union for advertising partnership.

None of the others came in more than 9%.

It is also worthy to note that 18% of webmasters have not used any advertising partnership yet.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

CNNIC Survey

Almost at the same time, China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) also released 2006 survey of search engine use in China.

CIC's founder Bowang(Peter) Lu was the main architech for CNNIC survey. The similarities between the two surveys are thus expected. However, consider the resource and official name brand of CNNIC, the new CNNIC report may be more credible.

CIC is a private company and only founded recently by Bowan Lu and the CIC report was undoubtly rushed out to compete with CNNIC report. Anyway, a first research report from a new consulting company lacks the continuation of the CNNIC report

Following are main points from the CNNIC report:

1. Brand name recognition, Baidu 86.5%; Google 64%; Yahoo 38.5%; Sogou(Sohu) 36%; iAsk(Sina) 15%.

2. Among search engines within users' top three choice, Baidu 84.6%(12.8%+); Google 57.5%(2.5%+); Yahoo 23.6%(3.8%+); Sogou 18.3% (5.7%+). All four search engines saw increased usage among users. That is to say, 84.6% of all users are using Baidu more or less and 57.5% of all users are using Google more or less.

3. Among first choice search engines, Baidu continue to gain at 62.1%(14.2%+); Google's share at 25.3%, lost 8%; Yahoo at 4.8%; Sogou at 3.2%; iAsk at 1.2%.
Between cities, Beijing users continue to favor Baidu, while Shanghai users continue to favor Google.
Comments: Beijing has more students, Shanghai has more businessmen; Beijing users are more proud of being Chinese, Shanghai users likes to make more mony may contribute to their choices of search engines.

4. Among all users, multiple search engines users are 76.3%. Google led as second choice at 37.8%, Baidu 26.9%. None of the search engines alone satisfies users.
Comments: There are some discrepancy in this category and category 3. If you combine first choice with second choice, Baidu would come in at 89% and Google come in at 63.1%. The numbers are even bigger than top three choices combined. The data may have some overlap here.

5. High end users (same definition as in CIC report), 46.5% still choose Google, 39.4% choose Baidu.
Comments: This data differs from CIC report which indicated Baidu also beat Google at high end user base.

6. Yahoo users' loyalty saw biggest increase(by definition of users who have not switched their first choice)
Comments: Yahoo should not be any happier here since only a few die-hard(4.8%) left for using Yahoo as first choice.

7. Though many addtional functions are provided by search engines, 72.8% of users are using their first choice only for search function.

In this category, Baidu 70.5%; Google 77.8%; Yahoo 60.5%; Sogou 80.8%.

8. Among search styles, main page used 76.7%; address window used 31%, toolbar used 14.4%. Also 57% users only use search engine main page for search.

9. Among users, only 16.8% of them heard about sponsored search but do not understand the details. As low as 11.6% of them understand the details. More surprising, only 5.1% of users can tell the difference of natural search results and sponsored results.

10. Student led Baidu users at 48.2%. Enterprise users led Google users at 48.5%.

11. 52.7% of users younger than 23 chose Baidu while 19.7% of them chose Sogou, thus make Sogou the most "mature" search engine.
Comments: this is maybe another wrong conclusion since Sogou's user base is also much smaller.

12. Part of reasons of choosing Baidu is the convenient spelling of it's Chinese name.

13. Almost 80% of users do not receive Google's Chinese name Guge well.

14. Users' search engine dependency rated 3.94, but satisfaction only rated 3.69

15. High dependency on search. Among all users, 44.1% of them search multiple times while online

16. 32% of users searched for private data and 29% of those 32% found something. This indicates 9% of users are risking losing privacy online. This category was added to the new survey after the news of AOL private data exposure.

17. two-thirds of users do not want search engines to keep their search records.

18. Complete with Accuracy; habit; and speed are the top three reasons for choosing a search engine.

19. Baidu's bulletin board, Yahoo, Sina, and Sohu's free emails are important factors for user attraction.


Comments: CNNIC's report looks more thorough but much less rosy for Baidu/gloomy for Google than the CIC report.
Addtionally, CNNIC's sample size is almost four times larger than CIC's sample size (4500 vs 1200) also make CNNIC's report more reliable.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Google vs Baidu - The New CIC Survey

The new company founded by the famous Chinese internet analyst Bowang Lu (former name Weigang Lu), CIC, published it's first research report for Chinese search engine survey. The report highlighted the fact that Google's market share has fallen 12.3% in the last year.

Following are parts of the report:

Definition for search engine market share: Method 1, we continue to use first choice to decide market share; Method 2, when a user uses more than one search engine, a weighted percentage was used as modification for method 1; Method 3, we use which search engine the user was using on a random day of being interviewed and the frequency the user uses that search engine for market share definition.

Fig 1. Among all users, 42.6% are students and teachers, 15.0% are from government offices, 25.9% are enterprise users, 16.5% are from others.

Among school users, 77.1% use Baidu, 13.4% use Google
Among office users, 54.3% use Baidu, 29% use Google
Among enterprise users, 64.7% use Baidu, 31.0% use Google
For all users, 64.7% uses Baidu, 20.7% use Google

(Due to fact that all the other search engines have share in single digit, their numbers are not being translated here)

Fig 2. Among all enterprise users, 29.8% from government owned firms, 42.9% from private firms, 21.0% from foreign capital invested firms, and 6.3% from others.

Among users from government owned firms, Baidu's share was 54.7%, Google 25.0%
Among users from private owned firms, Baidu's share was 54.0%, Google 32.8%
Among foreign capital invested firms, Baidu's share was 44.8%, Google 44%
For all enterprise users, Baidu's shae was 52.7%, Google 32.0%.

Fig 3. High end user are defined as those non-student users who are also aged 25 and above(77.4%), with college degrees(53.0%), and earns monthly salary higher than 3000 yuan(55.4%). The percentage of those met all the high-end criterions was 34.1% among all users.

Fig 4. Among all high-end users, Baidu took the largest piece of the pie at 45.1%, Google 43.7%

Fig 5. Search engine dependency. All users are asked to rate the importance of using a search engine, with 5=most, and 1=least

All users, 4.04; Baidu users, 4.05; Google users, 4.23; Baidu/Google dual users, 4.19; Google/Baidu dual users 4.29

Single search engine users, 3.94; multiple search engines users, 4.13

Fig 6. User satisfaction

All users, Baidu 4.09; Google 4.06
Student users, Baidu 4.20; Google 4.02
Non-student users, Baidu 4.02; Google 4.09

Fig 7. User satisfaction categories for their first choice search engine

1. landing speed, Baidu higher
2. website stability, Baidu higher
3. search result relevancy, Google much higher
4. search result justification, Google higher
5. business culture and conduct, Google higher
6. technology innovations, Google much higher
7. overall impression, Google higher

Fig 8, Cross comments regarding their second choice search engine

Blue comments are views on Baidu from Google/Baidu dual users
Red comments are views on Google from Baidu/Google dual users

(the figures are pretty much fit those from Fig 7 except that Baidu-preferred users are less impressed by Google's search result relevancy and technological innovations)

Fig 9. Baidu improvements:

1. Maturing into an overall service of search

In 2005 CNNIC survey, 49.1% Baidu users searched for the web, 55.8% searched for MP3
61.7% Google users searched for the web, 17.3% search for MP3

In this year's CIC survey, 72.6% Baidu users searched for the web, 55.5% search for MP3
76.9% Google users searched for the web, 11.9% searched for MP3

(Google does not provide specialized MP3 search service like the one Baidu provides)

Fig 10. Baidu's improvements:

2. Baidu's MP3 gained rock solid leadership at 85.1%

Fig 11. Baidu's improvements:

3. Market share increased from both student and non-student users; Started to captured Google's core users and shaking Google's position in high-end user market

Fig 12. Google's core users

Google users are still carry the social marks of higher education level and higher income, but some are migrating to Baidu and could be serious challenge for Google.

However, the satisfaction level and regards of technology innovations still make Google way ahead of Baidu.

Google's users' overall internet experience, search engine dependency, job related searches are all way ahead of Baidu users.

Fig 13. Google vs Baidu

users access net earlier than 2000, Baidu 42.5%; Google 67.1%
users access net earlier than 2002, Baidu 39.3%; Google 58.9%
users installed and using toolbar, Baidu 35.6%; Google 50.6%

Purposes of using search engine:
Study related searches, Baidu 34.8%; Google 45.3%
Professional related searches, Baidu 64.5%; Google 83.3%
Leisure related searches, Baidu 76.7%; Google 70.9%
Living and health related searches, Baidu 44.7%; Google 52.2%

Fig 14. Beijing residents most frequently visited websites

For first landing choice:
Sina still leads at number 1. Baidu replaced Sohu at number 2. Sohu number 3. Netease number 4.
Yahoo.China and Google tied at number 5.

For most frequently visited:
1. Sina; 2. Sohu; 3. Baidu;
4. Netease; 5. Yahoo; 6. Google

Which site visited yesterday:
1. Sina; 2. Baidu; 3. Sohu; 4. Netease; 5. Yahoo; 6. Google

translated from Chinese source:

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Challenges Facing Baidu Search Engine

1. Baidu is moving towards direct sales. It inevitably cause strain relationship with channel partners. At the same time, Google's entering will certainly expand their channel relationship and expand it's sales force. Some channel partners will turn to embrace Google. This is the first major threat that is challenging Baidu. Above that, more and more Chinese firms are looking at the international market. Google's English search in too powerful for Baidu to match. Though Google's pagerank technology make Google's search quality above that of Baidu's, it's Chinese phrasing technology is still far behind Baidu's. So, there is long way to go for Google to dominant Chinese market and it won't shake Baiud's position in some time.

2. The combination of Yahoo.China and Alibaba have not shown any impact to the Chinese search market. Many of us don't think Yahoo.China will become a threat to Baidu. However, it is unpredictable wheather storms are brewing under the quiet surface. The tight contrl of small enterprises in China by Alibaba, the future trend of e-commerce, Jack Ma's envision of commerce search, as well as the left over influence from 3721 could all combined to form formidable challenge to Baidu. The bottom line is businesses want to see the effect of their advertising spending. The e-commerce portals are perhaps closer to their targeted customers. We'll have to see whether these factors will turn to Alibaba's advantages. It was just known that
Jack Ma intended not to develop further the business of 3721. In yesterday's interview with First Business Daily, Ma admitted for the first time, there was basically no growth after "Ya/Ba" merger. Due to exodus of talents of 3721, Yahoo.China has been very weak or even barely surviving. Ma indicated he would make decison soon on 3721's domain business. So, Yahoo.China will probably not going to pose threat to Baidu in a short term.

3. Sogou's fierce competition is also threatening Baidu. Sogou is trying to boost R&D, and increase index size to surpass that of Baidu. A sudden change in users' taste could give Sogou a chance to surpass Baidu. Sougou is also trying to take advantage of Baidu's poor PR in handling recent layoff of ERP software division. Comparing with Google, Sougou knows more about China. The recent innovative Chinese input system is a perfect showing of Sohu's ambition to be the king of China's search market. However, the new method still requires lots of polishment. Any misstep in small details could ruin their empire. The hardest thing might be how Sougou can achieve the task of changing users' search habit.

4. MSN, supported by Microsoft's operating system, could easily be bundled just like the Internet Explorer. It is clearly a threat to Baidu. Remember 3721 started by software bundling deals. MSN could integrate search with operating system to make it ease and convenient and pose challenges to Baidu.

5. Finally, let's see which one pose the biggest threat to Baidu. In my opinion, none of the above. The biggest threat is actually the not so celebrated SOSO from Tencent. Because Tencent controls the largest group of Chinese internet users, they must be able to figure out a way to make them used to search SOSO. Unfortunately, Tencent's SOSO does not have their own core technology. Their current search results are using Google's. The situation may have been caused by Tencent's neglegiance of search market from the begining. The major reason is that Tencent does not focus on search but Baidu does. Even SOSO has the biggest potential challenging force, from strategic point of view, it is unlikely to shake Baidu's superpower in the Chinese search market.

by Wang Yifei from

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Maverick Treasure Hunters

Baidu and Ebay/Each annouced that they will start a new cobranding activity in China, named "Maverick Treasure Hunters".

The activity clearly is a move against their common enemy, Alibaba/Yahoo. In the ecommerce area, Ebay/Each is facing challenge from Alibaba's Taobao, and in the search area, Baidu is fighting with Yahoo.

There is not the first time the two companies joined hand in branding activities. Previously, Baidu and Ebay/Each have participated in a charitable event jointly for branding actitivy.

Ebay's spokesman said the event will be challenging and fun for combining search and online purchase activities.

Baidu' s spokesman said as leaders in search and online commerce, Baidu and Ebay will bring users new and fun user experiences. With ongoing collaboration on solid programs, the joint branding relationship will grow even deeper.


Baidu Changes Ads Ranking Rule

Begining Monday, Sept. 11, Baidu will start using new rules to dertermine the ranking of sponsored links on search page.

How much money an advertiser pays will no longer be the only criterion to determine who ranks first on the right side of a search result page.

Landing page quality as well as click through rate will be incorperated inro a composite index as dertermining factors.

The US search giant, Google Inc. has pioneered similar rules for search rankings.


Friday, September 08, 2006

Eight in Ten Reporters Using Personalized Baidu News

According, Nearly 80% Chinese reporter are using Baidu's personalized news search.

Many reporters have very high regard for Baidu's news search which help them to understand hottest and newest trend happening in China. They can based on Baidu News to set their daily agenda.

Baidu Signs with MII

Sept. 8 According, Baidu signed agreement with CSIP, (China Software and Integrated circuit Public service), within the Chinese Ministry of Informational Industries.

With the agreement, Baidu will cooperate with CSIP in multiple areas mainly on the contribution to the open source area.

Baidu's expertise in Linux system will help greatly for the open source movement.

Baidu's involvement in the open source area will be focused on using Baidu's toolbar with the Firefox browser which is also based on open source.

Using Baidu's toolbar for web search and MP3 could potentially further strengthen Baidu's dominant market share in China.