Google CEO Questioned about China Strategy and Competition with Baidu (GOOG, BIDU)

Includes: BIDU, GOOG
by: Ezra Marbach

From Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) investor update conference call:

Safa Rashtchy - Piper Jaffray

A quick follow-up if I may. Eric, you touched on China. You have a great team on the ground there, obviously. But it seems like it has been difficult to gain market share against Baidu; in fact, Baidu seems to be gaining some ground. Do you think that you may need to rethink the approach in terms of how you can make the search engine experience attractive to the Chinese consumers? Perhaps there is a different set of criteria that has to be applied there as opposed to the other markets?

Eric Schmidt - CEO

We have not yet seen a good reason to segregate the Chinese user from worldwide users. So far, all the evidence that we have seen is that the Chinese user is quite similar. I think it’s too early to tell how successful any of these new strategies – we announced our Chinese strategy in March. We unveiled the office there. So that’s, what? Roughly two months. We have an incredible team that has been assembled in China.

Let’s give them some time to focus on that market, bring out the localized and specialized product part of our initiative is to make sure we have the very best product in each of the markets. Chinese people, so of course the product is in Chinese. There are unique aspects of the Chinese language. We are doing all of that work, and we are doing it as quickly as we can.

I don’t see a need to change what we have done, and I think it’s probably going to be too early to call that question for many months, not just one month or two months. These things aren’t switched. Things don’t occur in a month or two, even in China.