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These Two Graphs Show Painful Drops for Google and Baidu in China Search Engine Market

Steven Millward
Steven Millward
8:30 pm on Jul 4, 2013

Google vs Baidu vs Qihoo search engine war in China

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:

Baidu vs Qihoo - China search engines, June 2013

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:

Google down to fifth - China search engines, June 2013

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)

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Have Your Say
  • http://www.ryowibowo.com Ryo Wibowo

    Search engine industries always interesting to follow, and somehow google dominance will coming to an end or at least declining in popularity. And also there’s always appear new innovations as well as new search engines.

  • http://mysocialface.com pantelis

    Baidu, like the Chinese domestic political system cannot change or adapt rapidly. All Google has to do is wait to invest surreptitiously into an emerging chinese search engine platform.

  • weld

    It is important to notice that while google is popular all over the world, it is not always the no.1 in every country. China is just one example, korea has its neaver while japan most popular search engine is yahoo japan. I think russia has its own local search engine too.
    The other most importan thing for google to remember is that it is a company that is aiming for profit not an american superhero in a fight against evil chinese. I think chinese government has been fair enough to let them stay despite the recent snowden leak

  • Ryan

    Interesting charts, probably more useful qualitatively than quant (data integrity certainly questionable) And come on Steven, you’re a better writer than using “reached out to” in the 2nd graf!

  • Bob

    It’s worth pointing out that the Chinese government periodically blocks Google behind their firewall, which explains its low popularity.
    This comes from Google’s reluctance to censor search results.

  • Andy Grown

    From my experience, it’s not only Google that’s periodically blocked, but all big foreign search engines. E.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, etc.
    Even Google is still the engine of my choice, on my opinion it getting worse every few month.