According to a study released by Keynote Systems today, Google (ticker: GOOG) appears well-positioned versus Baidu (ticker: BIDU) in China's Internet search market. The survey evaluated the responses of 1,200 participants across China and showed that users rated Google's Chinese Web site highest in 11 out of the 13 categories including general search, image search and news-search quality. Baidu and Yahoo/Alibaba each ranked first in one category and competed closely with Google in about half of the others. Baidu ranked highest with consumers in the music search category, while Alibaba/Yahoo! was first for help and instructions.
Key Takeaways from the Keynote Report:
Google is in a strong position to challenge Baidu despite the latter's clear lead in terms of usage and brand recognition (according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), Baidu is currently the preferred search engine brand of 48% of Internet users). Chinese consumers like the overall Google experience better than that of the competition. Google's success in English-speaking markets appears transferable to China. Close race among Alibaba/Yahoo!, Baidu, Google China and Sohu (ticker: SOHU). Chinese Internet users report high level of frustration with search experiences.
Comment: What about Sina's (ticker: SINA) search engine "iAsk"? Keynote didn't even bother to include it in its survey!