With over 640 million internet users in China, the potential audience for your product is enormous. However, the search engine landscape looks different in China. This quick Q&A gives a few tips on search engines and how to adjust your website for Chinese consumers. Q: What are the most popular search engines in China? A: Baidu has long been the leading search engine, and currently holds about 54% of the market. However, Qihoo 360 is quickly catching up. It has grown from nothing in 2012 to about 29% of the market today.  Other developments include the merger of search engines Sogou and Soso into New Sogou which holds about 15% of the market. Google has encountered a range of problems in China, contributing to its dwindling market share. These trends are tracked in the charts to the right, using data from CNZZ web analytics.

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  Q:  Where should I host my website to improve its ranking on Chinese search engines? A: Basing your website in China will often increase loading speed and improve your ranking. If you host your website in China, you will need to get an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Websites based in China will be blocked without an ICP license, whereas websites hosted outside of the mainland do not need the license. Q: How should site content be adjusted for China? A: There are several factors to keep in mind:
  • More weight is given to meta descriptions and keywords by Chinese search engines than by Google.
  • JavaScript and Flash players will not work in China.
  • All content should be in simplified Chinese characters.
  • Keep cultural sensitivities in mind; instead of a New Year sale, have a Chinese New Year sale.
Q: What tools exist to help improve our Chinese website? A: Baidu has a keyword search tool (users must have a Chinese mainland mobile phone number to register) and a page for top ranking searches. The Sogou Hot List  also provides top ten search lists, where you can find current popular search phrases that you may consider incorporating into your site. Baidu has also created SiteApp, which can help you create a mobile site based off of your desktop website. Have more questions? Feel free to reach out and contact our experts. We’d be happy to talk with you about ways to improve your China search engine strategy.