Tuesday, September 25, 2007

CNNIC reports Baidu with 74.5% Market Share

Sept.25, Chinese Internet Network Information Center(CNNIC) released it's 2007 reports on Chinese search engine market in the 2007 Chinese Internet Conference. This is the third year in a roll that CNNIC has produced the report. Detailed data on different user communities and cities with different development levels are the spotlights of this year's report.

This year's report covers three top cities, seven second-level cities, and fourteen third-level cities in all the seven regions of the country. The survey covered broader area with stronger sample representations. Through cross analysis between different user communities and different level of cities, the user behavior on search applications can be interpreted. The report indicated that the top choice selection of Baidu goes the opposite direction with the level of cities. Google's trend was opposite to that of Baidu. The ratio of selecting of Baidu as first choice among the level 1, 2 and 3 cities were 67.33%, 73.35%, 83.82%. The ratio for Google were 22.11%, 14.78%, 4.99%.

CNNIC report shows that 44.71% of users use search routinely(multiple times per day). It indicates almost half of internet users are dependent on search. Besides that, there are also 17.2% of users use search only once per day. That bumps up search engine users to as high as 61.91% of total internet users and trends toward stronger dependence on search engines.

From year 2000, the number of search engine users were growing at about 12% per year. The growth rates started to slow since 2006 with only 11.32%. So far this year up to Sept. 2007, the new search users has increased 7.7%. CNNIC predicts the growth rate will be slightly downward for the whole year.

(Note: There might be error in CNNIC's prediction. Since Sept. is not finished yet, the data cannot possibly include this month and it is reasonably to assume no data from the entire month due to time requirement to finish their report. If the growth of new users distributes evenly during the year, 7.7% X 12 / 8 would result in a growth rate of 11.55% which is higher than that of 2006. Additionally, since schools start in Sept., it can also reasonably assume the biggest month of new user growth is Sept.)

CNNIC reports found that as a first choice of search engine, Baidu's market share had reached 74.5%. Google had only 14.3%. However, among high end users, Google's market share of 42.32% is not much different from Baidu's 47.72%. High end users are defined as "25 and older, college graduates, monthly salary above 3000 yuan".

CNNIC reports also found "word of the mouth" was the main factor for search engine brand recognition with 54.03%. Found search engine while "surfing" was second factor with 41.33%. There were only 8.05% of users got to know search engines through embedded search window on their frequently visited web sites. Even lower percentage of users got acquainted with search engines through online advertising. That number came in at 7.81%.

From Hexun (in Chinese)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Google.China to start massive marketing push

Sept. 21, Sina Tech report- President of Google China, Kai-fu Lee said last night, Google is planning a massive market promotion in the next few months. The move is aiming to attracting more users to try Google search and other Google products. So far, Google has been steadfastly refused to initiate any marketing activities.

Kai-Fu Lee made the remarks while participating the advisory forum organized by CIC consulting. He indicate that the marketing push aims to increase user traffic, to guide and suggest users to tryout Google products.

"Google has not done any promotion so far. However, there are many beginner users in China and there are also other branded search engines." He implied that the special situation in China makes marketing necessary. But he also emphasized that it would not be a simple marketing move for Google brand.

Kai-Fu Lee's remarks may indicate that Google's localization effort is going smoothly and their confidence about the quality of Google's Chinese search is high.

Kai-Fu Lee said that, internal tracking data indicated that Google's quality of Chinese search continues to go up and already has gap with other search engines. "The gap with other search engines is getting bigger." Lee said. If more users are willing to try Google, he's confident that they will be converted to Google users.

From just released survey results by CIC consulting, 23% internet users in China have Google as first choice search engine. However, Google's main competitor Baidu had a huge lead with 69.5%.

Google dominated in the major search markets such as the US but has met major resistance in China. In the last two years, Google has made major push in China but the progress has been slow. And it has forced Google to try it differently by making localizing efforts to win Chinese users. Besides making special Guge.com site for China, Google also started collaboration efforts with Xunlei, 265.com, China Mobile as well as Sina to attract more search traffic.

But Lee also refused to comment on future market share. He thinks though Google's Chinese search is ahead of competitors', it will take time for users to pick Google as "first choice". "it's hard to predict the actual rate of market share gains" he said.

Baidu Launches Olympic Channel, Goes After The "Big Cake"

Sept. 20, Beijing - Baidu held a press conference today at the Shangri-la Hotel and formally launched Baidu's Olympic strategy -"Baidu 2008 Story". The new interactive platform for the Olympic Games will be channeled at (http://2008.baidu.com). Representatives from several Olympic sponsors, such as Samsung, Yili, and China Airlines attended the ceremony.

It is learned that search traffic directing, interactive communities and user behaviors data analysis for the Olympic Games will be the major features of "Baidu 2008 Story" that distinguishes it from Olympic strategies from other media outlets. Head of Baidu's Olympic platform, Wang Xiao said: "We will utilize the world's leading Chinese search technology, to guide the hundreds of millions of Olympic-related inquiries daily to the best Web sites that users want. This will not only promote an environment of efficiency and fairness for the Olympic media coverage, it can also greatly highlight the authoritative nature of Baidu as a new media. "

Prior to this, Sina, Sohu, and Tencent have already released their individual Olympic strategies. Industry analysts think that by releasing it's strategy now, there is no doubt that Baidu is going after the enormous commercial potential of the Olympic Games. Also yesterday, Baidu has quietly launched it's online game channel. Baidu's determination to go after the two "big cakes" of online advertising will unquestionably make a huge impact to the entire Internet advertising industry.

At the same time, Baidu also released a statistical report on Olympic-related internet users behavior. Baidu will continue to release updated statistics report on Olympic related communities, and hopes to be able to attract more brand advertisers.

reported by ccidnet(in Chinese).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

iResearch report on BaiduTV

Today, iResearch published a report on BaiduTV's influence on online video industry.

The report considers BaiduTV as a major milestone for Baidu for several reasons.

The online video advertising service will utilize the over 150,000 union member's resources with very broad reach. Many of these small sites are dependent on sharing Baidu's ads revenue for living. Adsit will serve as BaiduTV's exclusive agency and will provide all the video ads services to advertisers(similar to the role of Doubleclick). The arrangement will be very attractive to advertisers who are willing to invest in video ads.

The rapid expanding user base is also important factor. Since the launch of Baidu video search, Baidu has seen unparalleled growth in number of users.

The bar graph shows the number of users each month. The numbers are in 10,000. Total number of users has grown from Feb's 1.8 million to over 17 million in Aug. The blue line shows month over month growth rate, almost doubling every two months.

The system has very unique ecosystem. Adsit will connect advertisers through Baidu's video search with relevant contents from advertisers. Adsit will input video ads either through pre-roll or with ads before connecting to websites of Baidu's union members. Adsit also provide follow-up analytic data to advertisers.

The full report in Chinese here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Baidu Officially Launch Online Gaming Channel

September 19, Baidu today officially announced its online gaming channel at game.baidu.com.

Based on Baidu's leading search technology platform and strong community services, the most notable characteristics of the service will be the combination of search for professional gaming resouces and the player communities.

"Search for gaming resouces can reach many contents such as fighting strategies, game-related news, and notes associated with the games, it can even find parameters for specific game equipments and user information. After landing on Baidu's gaming channel, players will find Baidu can provide all relevant information with the best coverage, the most accurate and also the fastest. This is typical of Baidu's products. " Head of Baidu's games channel, Chen Feng said.

Built on top of search for gaming resources, Baidu will also bring the experiences of building communities into the games channel. "Players can register freely and publish games related articles and comments. We plan to provide guidance through a variety of mechanisms, gradually to make all the contents user-generated, similar to post.baidu(bulletin board) and zhidao.baidu(answers) services. "He said.

Since Baidu covers the majority of Chinese internet users, especially young internet users, many Baidu users are also online game players. Baidu games channel could become important entry point for major gaming companies to attract new users, and so far it has already drawn great attention from domestic online gaming industry. "The emergence of Baidu games channel provides access to a variety of information and exchange of experiences among players. It displays the colorful entertainment world of online games in front of us in reality. It is a good thing for every players. " Chairman of Shanghai ZTgames, Si Yuzhu said.

Chen Tianqiao , Chairman of Shanda, the largest online gaming operator in China, indicated that, with Baidu's powerful technology platform and great influence, the gaming service could have big and far-reaching impact on China's online gaming industry.

It is learned that a number of leading domestic online game producers have reached long term deals on content sharing and traffic redirecting. In 2006, China's online game market has reached 7.8 billion yuan. Gaming resources as well as community building has become new focus for the growth of the online gaming industry.

Reported by Wang chuan from ccidnet(in Chinese).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Baidu Market Share Broke 70% Mark In Beijing

According to Chinabyte report, CIC has published 2007 Chinese search market survey result.

Comparing to one year ago, Baidu continues to gain market share in BSG, the three largest cities in China: B(Beijing), S(Shanghai), and G(Guangzhou). Google's market share in BSG has bottomed and rebounded slightly. Yahoo and Sogou's shares dropped further.

Famous web analyst, founder and chief-analyst of CIC, Bowang Lu led the design of the survey as well as writing the summary report. He thinks there are a couple of surprises in the survey result. One is that Baidu's market share has broke the 70% mark. The high ratio was really a surprise. The other surprise was Sohu's share drop(considering Sohu's exclusive sponsorship of Beijing Olympic Games).

Defined as first choice of search engine, Baidu's share was 69.5% in BSG markets. Google/Guge combined for 23%. The market are further concentrated into the top players.

Baidu's market share in Beijing and Guangzhou grew faster accompany with a slight drop in Shanghai. Lu thinks it may indicate that Google gained against Baidu among Shanghai users.

Though Google's share dropped 1.1% from a year ago. But it was actually up 1.4% from six months ago, indicating a rebound for Google's share.

The main source of new users of Google are coming from students. Baidu's share in high end users passed further over Google and the gap has expanded.

More than half of users had positive comments on Google's improvement

Two months too long? Try two days!

The talk about Baidu's online gaming service is heating up.

After Netease Tech reported yesterday that Baidu will roll out online gaming service in two months, Sohu Tech's report has gone further. It said that Baidu will formally launch the service in two days!

There were rumors that Baidu has hired away the founder of online gaming portal 17173.com. Sohu IT cited reliable source that Baidu has set up ambitious goal as early as begining of the year.

The positioning of the service is now the focus among analysts. Some indicated that Baidu could choose from a variety of options such as content aggregator, vertical search or community information services. In any of cases, it will mark Baidu's further march into the "new media" era.

Online gaming(video games, not gambling) has been the largest revenue generator for China's web companies with huge population of players. It is still the main source of revenue for several of China's largest internet companies such as Shanda, Netease, The9, as well as recent IPO winner Perfect World.

To build a springboard for many different gaming services will certainly be welcomed by many internet users. In doing so, Baidu is hoping to generate revenue by both getting a small cut of the rich margins that online game operators now enjoy and by attracting gamers to many other Baidu services.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Baidu May Roll Out Online Gaming Soon

According to unconfirmed report from tech.163.com, Baidu may roll out online gaming channel soon. The report talked about an analyst's comment on Sohu's intention to build online blog advertising union in order to compete with Baidu Union, a service similar to Google's Adsense.

Also said in report, in 2003, Sohu bought online gaming portal 17173.com. Recently, rumors indicated that the founder of 17173.com has joined Baidu. Baidu will roll out it's own online gaming channel in two months.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Baidu Rolls Out BaiduTV

Baidu will formally launch BaiduTV tomorrow. BaiduTV is a similar online video advertising service as Google's video Adsense.

BaiduTV will be launched with several format:

1. Banner video
2. Embedded video:
3. Picture-in-Picture:
4. Video inserts:
BaiduTV is a major effort for Baidu to enter the lucrative branding advertising market. As Olympic Games getting closer, the gigantic consumer market in China will unquestionably draws the attention for many large multinational firms worldwide.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Another interesting figure from iResearch

iReseach published another interesting figure for Baidu users on Sept. 3, 2007.

In the above figure, blue line indicates the percentage of Baidu users who only visit zhidao.baidu(Baidu Answers) service. The yellow line indicates the percentage of Baidu users who only use Baidu search without visiting zhidao.baidu. The green line indcates the percentage of Baidu users who not only search on Baidu and also use Baidu Answers at the same time.