The Chicago Tribune took a close and thoughtful look at the search engine market in China, in Baidu vs. Google this weekend (free user registration required). This morning, Baidu announced in a press release that they would be entering the Japanese search market in 2007.
Some insights from the Tribune article:
1. Baidu is the first choice of 62 percent of Chinese users, which is an increase of 15 points over last year, according to a study by the China Internet Network Information Center
2. Google’s Kai-Fu Lee is very popular in China, and is leading the recruitment efforts for Chinese students to work on Google.
3. Baidu founder Robin Li, US educated and a one time designer for Infoseek, is also very popular, and seen as a national hero.
The article also covers other topics such as censorship, paid placement in search results, the social networking aspects of Baidu, and the embracing of Google by Chinese intellectuals and professionals.
This morning’s press release notes that Baidu has spent more than the past six months working hard to bring their search battle to Japan. From the release:
Since our successful listing on Nasdaq in 2005, we have been committed to delivering the best user search experience in Chinese language search and creating exceptional value for our shareholders,” said Robin Li, Baidu’s Chairman and CEO. ”We believe that our proven strength in non-English language search, the high internet penetration in Japan, as well as similarities between the Chinese and Japanese languages make this market an ideal next step for Baidu.
This battle should be interesting to watch.
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