Now that it’s July we have market share data for China’s hard-fought search engine sector. The industry was reinvigorated last August by the entrance of Qihoo (NYSE:QIHU) (previously a web portal and software company) into the battle against Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). So how’s it panning out for Qihoo? Actually very well.
New data (from CNZZ) for June shows that Baidu has hit an all-time low in the face of its new competitor, dropping below a psychologically important 70 percent market share in terms of search page-views. Baidu now stands at 69.37 percent share, down from 81.6 percent at the same point last year before Qihoo burst onto the scene. We’ve reached out to Baidu to comment on the latest numbers. Here’s the seething rivalry in one graph:
Qihoo has grown from nothing to command, in less than a year, 15.26 percent of all China’s search engine page-views. That’s how it stands right now. It proves wrong those who said Qihoo would never get past the 10 percent share it quickly assailed after launch thanks to traffic driven to the new search engine by its popular PC browser that many in China use instead of Internet Explorer.
Note that those curves of Qihoo and Baidu look remarkably symmetrical.
Google: Going, going, gone
The other battle is for third place in China. That’s one Google has lost spectacularly. (Indeed, Google was second before Qihoo came along). Google has lost a lot of share in the past year (5.54 percent down to 2.13 percent from June 2012 to June 2013) in China and is now mired in fifth place.
Meanwhile, Tencent’s (HKG:0700) Soso has kind of struggled and Sohu’s (NASDAQ:SOHU) Sogou has grown slightly. Little wonder that everyone’s talking about the Sogou search division being acquired – possibly by Qihoo. Here’s the battle for third place, which seems to be unable to grow past 10 percent share:
Of course, as with all stats, we must keep in mind margins of error on a number of possible fronts. Perhaps Baidu is seeing a lot more searches via its native mobile search or voice assistant apps, which might not count as page-views by CNZZ. There are several other possibilities. As for Google, we know exactly how it’s losing out: it’s being unfairly partially blocked by China’s Great Firewall, making it appear to Chinese netizens that the service is slow or broken.
Check out more data on CNZZ.
(Editing by Willis Wee and Enricko Lukman)