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Google is one of the largest technological giants in the world and its search engine is usually number one in all countries. However, in China Baidu is preferred. In this article we explain to you what the success of this Chinese search engine is and what are Google’s plans with the Asian country.
Periodically we review the latest trends in mobility based on the data collected by NetMarketShare. In the latest statistics, the search engine market attracted attention, especially in mobile devices.
This sector has traditionally been dominated by the omnipresent Google, but the data clearly showed a change of trend in which the American search engine no longer has the hegemony it had before. In 2017, Baidu had barely 2% market share, compared to 20%, which reached the end of 2018.
To better understand what is happening in China and why Google is losing strength in the Asian country and its competitor Baidu is gaining ground, we will analyze what situation they are in and what are the reasons that led Google to this point.
Google’s situation in China
The statistics we are talking about are worldwide, demonstrating the weight of the Chinese market and its repercussion in global, not only national areas.
It is often thought that the failure of Western companies in China is due to the regulations of their government and the tendency to favor domestic versus foreign companies. But in the case of Google against Baidu, this type of interference did not only influence.
The Google search engine left China in 2010, redirecting the portal to another based in Hong Kong, an autonomous region with looser legislation. Its launch took place in 2006, with which the largest search engine in the world only had a presence in the Chinese market for four years.
The strict Chinese laws caused many of the services to change drastically or directly were eliminated from their catalog (such as Gmail, Blogger and Picassa), which Google’s offer was very limited compared to that of its competitor.
The internal operation did not work as it should, or at least as it worked in the rest of the countries in which Google had activity. Its engineers were motivated to work on current projects or to make new and innovative ones taking advantage of the huge code base of the Californian Company. However, the Chinese employees did not have access to this base, which had their functions very constrained.
The discovery that the government was taking advantage of a Gmail security breach for espionage was what led Google to make the decision to leave one of the most important markets in the world, within which many Western companies are complying with the laws of the country.
Causes of Google’s failure in China and the success of Baidu
Although China’s strict legislation was largely responsible for Google’s exit, it was not the only reason, but the reality was much more complex. Google was hit hard by Baidu in 2009. As you can see in this graph, in that year the tables were changed and Baidu snatched dominance from Google.
Baidu achieved this success thanks to knowing its users better and taking actions to reach its audience. In China, it is very common to access the Internet in cybercafés. Therefore, Baidu contacted several establishments. In exchange for a fee, all the computers would come with Baidu browser as the main page of the browsers.
Advertising was another of the parts that the Chinese company took advantage of much better. Since 2000, Google has its AdWords advertising service, but had an inconvenience for the Asian country, and this is that payments were made through credit cards.
Baidu launched a similar advertising system, with a small change in payments. He hired workers who were dedicated to call those interested in their services and payment was made through them. Baidu gave great importance to the sales and marketing department, so much that in 2008 it exceeded 50% of the workforce.
Its commitment to traditional marketing has also brought visibility and good image among Chinese citizens. Baidu was the main sponsor of the New Year’s gala in 2008 and even in the television spot he referred to his superiority over Google.
Forecast for the future
It is surprising that a company as important as Google does not try to return to one of the most profitable markets in the world. In effect, the Californian Company made an attempt with the Dragonfly project, which was canceled by the end of 2018 before it was finished.
The objective was the development of a censored search engine that would adapt to the conditions of the Chinese government. Google came to buy a web of the country, 265.com, to offer the information that the Asians wish fulfilling the legality.
However, the internal protests of the developers caused this project to stop and finally be canceled. This was because they discovered that Google was saving the information of 265.com users, breaching clauses of citizens’ privacy rights. The goal of Google was to launch Dragonfly between January and April of this year.
For now, the US giant has not publicly expressed any intention to return to the Chinese market, although it would not be surprising that it sought a new way of doing it. For the moment, Baidu continues to grow and gain importance both in his native country and in the rest of the world.