In 2010 Google and all its apps were banned in China because the company didn’t comply with the government censorship regulations.
Before exile, Google had about 30 % of the search engine share, which made the second used search engine and a great competitor to Baidu.
Google is still present in Chinese speaking, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Also, In China, some users illegally access Google by installing Virtual Private Network services that help them to change the IP address and become invisible to the Great Chinese Firewall.
China Top Search Engines
Baidu is the most important Chinese search website on both desktop and cell phones, and it should be the central platform for your SEO and Search Ads campaigns.
It was established in January 2000 by the Chinese Internet businessman Robin Li.
Sogou belongs to Sohu, a web company that specializes in apps for news and games.
After partnership with Tencent (the company behind Wechat), Sogou became the only search tool that can list and show content from WeChat Official Accounts.
Although Haosou has a small market share, it is considered much safer than any of its competitors even Baidu. It was created by Qihoo 360 antivirus software company. For its quality to handle malicious and phishing websites, it became a favorite search engine for business. Advertising on Haosou could be useful in reaching business clients.
Shema is a mobile search engine only. Through its joint venture between Alibaba and UC Browser Shema become default search tool on US Browser ( one of the top mobile browsers in China). It works well for shopping because it displays products directly from the online stores and has a function of an app store. If you want to promote an online shop or mobile applications, this search engine could be an excellent platform for you.
Alternative search apps:
Now there are apps for everything, and in some cases it is more convenient to search directly on the app for specific queries.
Although Wechat is the most popular social media app, it has a search function available. The Wechat search crawls information from Wechat friends groups, official accounts, articles. It is famous for searching for news, companies, brands, and products reviews.
6. Xiao Hong Shu
It’s a social media platform with a shopping function. It is made purposely for selling foreign items. It is an excellent source for product reviews made by vloggers. Posts are marked with the relevant hashtag and then users can find it on the hashtag search page. The platform is top-rated for buying cosmetics.
It’s an essential search tool for companies aiming at middle-class females consumers.
Dianping is a mobile app for the search of restaurants, travel destination, hotels etc. It has about 260 m monthly users. Dianping has even function to look for restaurants and hotels overseas and read reviews. So if you want to attract Chinese clients, your business should be on it.
China Search Engine Market Share
In the 2018 year, 800 million people used the internet in China, and 650 m used search engines. Baidu was the most popular search engine and had 70% of the search market share, followed by Sogou (18%), Shenma (7%) and Haosou (3%).
Although Baidu seems to have an overwhelming position over competitors, an efficient SEO strategy should include Sogou and Shenma as well. Because there is less competition on non-mainstream search engines and still it has quite significant exposure on mobile and desktop. Almost 111 million people are searching on Sogou and 70 million on Shenma.
If you want to optimize your website for Chinese search engines or run paid ads campaign contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will provide you free consultations.