Digital Marketing in China: Search Engine- Baidu and Beyond

Baidu accounts for the largest search volume in China, with around 70 percent market share. Even before Google left China a decade ago, Baidu pulled ahead by focusing all of its resources and algorithmic design on Chinese language search.However, over the years, there is growing suspicion the quality and reliability of its results followed by misleading medical advertisements have claimed people’s life. Dissatisfaction with Baidu grew further in 2017 as Baidu created Baijiahao, an AI-based news aggregator and boosted it to dominate search results. Baijiahao quickly became notorious because it indexed articles from unreliable sources like the Onion. Baijiahao’s sometimes comical inaccuracies quickly eroded Baidu’s reputation, causing one Chinese academic to pen an article titled “Search Engine Baidu is Dead”. Years later, Baidu is still very much alive, popular, and profitable, but these reputational hits have given smaller competitors room to grow. Baidu is not to be ignored; but given it’s expensive and restrictive, it’s often worth looking into smaller search engines like Shenma, Haoso/360 Search, and Sogou who are more flexible.

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