Believe it or not, there’s parts of the world where Google doesn’t dominate the search landscape like it does in the US. One of those places is the fast-paced mobile search market growing in China.
Google is a distant second to Baidu in terms of PC search, but the race for mobile search market share is still anyone’s game, and both companies have big plans. The mobile search segment in China is set to be the largest in the world, given their advanced mobile technology and top-tier mobile broadband networks, meaning there’s billions of dollars at stake to whoever can persuade the most users.
China’s mobile search market, where both Google and Baidu are currently tied with about a 26 percent share each, is significant due to China’s more than 600 million mobile subscribers, about double its 338 million Internet users. According to government data, at the end of June this year China had 155 million mobile Internet users, and more than 40 million of them used mobile search.
Monetizing mobile search traffic is much more valuable than that of PC search traffic, given the nature of mobile networks who actually double as bill collectors. This advantage has helped texting services in China reap enormous profits, and mobile search companies want a piece of that pie.
While Google is rapidly expanding its mobile product offerings in China hoping to sway users, it’s going to be an uphill battle no matter what. Baidu has deep branding in the Chinese market, a much deeper understanding of local information and such a prominent position in desktop search, that it most definitely has the upper hand in attacking the mobile segment.
The market is still young, but with most technology in China, it will evolve much quicker than in other parts of the world and Baidu and especially Google need to be on their toes if one wants to emerge a clear-cut winner in the mobile search wars.