New Sina search engine and a milestone for Google in China (SINA, SOHU, GOOG, BIDU)

Includes: BIDU, SINA, SOHU
by: Ezra Marbach

As we reported last week, Sina (ticker: SINA) has launched Internet search engine "iAsk". The announcement is more evidence of an increasingly competitive Chinese search environment and follows the introduction of Sohu's (ticker: SOHU) search engine Sogou earlier this year. More on Sina and other search developments:

Sina's new self-developed algorithmic search engine '"iAsk" (from today's press release)

....iAsk, offers knowledge-based and community-based search in addition to the
standard web-based search.  While maintaining the power of traditional
algorithm technology, SINA iAsk offers an added bonus of users' interactivity
with a unique Q&A platform.  iAsk categorizes search subjects into areas of
news, pictures, music, knowledge, and video and allows users to input key
words and questions of their interests.  iAsk then ranks sites partly by
subject-specific popularity, clusters results into subject groups, and lists
related link collections by experts.  SINA iAsk also features an ''express
zone'' that filters all past information and data collected by SINA on the
subject being searched.  In addition, SINA iAsk offers personalized features
such as search by local content (maps, entertainment and travel) and archival
of personal favorites.  iAsk is designed to work with both the Chinese and
English language queries.

Google (ticker: GOOG) and university search

  • Google launched "university search" in China earlier this month.
  • University search aims to help users search for information about Chinese universities.
  • This is the first time Google has offered a service specifically to
    Chinese users.

Sohu's (ticker: SOHU) search engine Sogou

  • According to CEO Zhang, Sogou site traffic has tripled in the last six months.
  • Zhang says Sogou recently overtook Yahoo's 3721 in site traffic and trails only Baidu.
  • Expects Sogou to generate double-digit growth for the rest of 2005.
  • Sponsored search revenue (which totaled $2.73 million in Q1) expected to contribute 20% of total sales at the end of 2005 versus 11.5% in Q1.

Baidu (ticker: BIDU)

Comment: Sohu's stock price has been a tear of late in response to the success of its search business. More on Sohu search from CFO Carol Yu here.

SOHU chart.


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