Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Baidu's Way from Unknown to No.1 Search Engine in China

From Los Angeles Times: Baidu.com Went From Unknown to No.1 Search Engine in China

"(...) Later that year (2002), the Chinese government blocked Google's search engine in China for about two weeks, funneling Internet users to Chinese search sites, mainly Baidu. (China Net Investor: Earlier in that year Baidu itself was required to shut down its server for a week because their search results contained certain content that the public security authorities considered socially harmful). That decision played an important role in boosting Baidu's name, says Hong Bo, an Internet industry analyst in Beijing who edits the research website Donews.com. At that time, Google was the search site of choice in China and Baidu was relatively unknown to many Chinese Internet users."

"Oliver Liu, general counsel at Chinadotcom Corp. in Beijing, a major Chinese portal, attributes Baidu's rise to the strong entrepreneurial spirit within the company as well as its connections with state-owned China Telecom, the nation's largest telecom operator."

"But Liu and others say that Baidu employees would use Google's search engine to look for sexual content and other sensitive materials, then report the findings to China Telecom, which would be involved in blocking the offensive websites or restricting access to Google. Users in China have long complained that Google's search engine breaks down often and that has caused them to switch to Baidu and other Chinese search services."

"Baidu also offers something that Google doesn't: MP3 searches, which are extremely popular with the growing number of young Chinese who are joining the ranks of Internet users. Surveys indicate that Chinese search engine users look for entertainment data considerably more than news or information for work, study or personal reasons. MP3 searches account for about one-fifth of the traffic at Baidu. Although other Chinese Internet search companies offer such services, there may be growing pressure for them to stop because of concerns about copyright piracy."

Read more:
Quotes on the Baidu (BIDU) IPO
Fact Sheet on the Chinese Search Leader

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