Bing is eyeing the biggest Internet market in the world—China. Still in beta in China, “Bee-ying” was launched back in June without the marketing push and fanfare enjoyed in the US. Reuters emailed questions to Microsoft today, and MSFT responded that they are “committed to the China market and the search market in China is the most important strategic market for Microsoft.”
China is a lucrative market that still remains untapped by most Western companies—especially in the search arena. As we reconfirmed just recently, Google is still a distant second in China to home-grown Baidu. Baidu reports their marketshare at 75%+ and Google’s a dismal 17%. Reuters reports from Analysys International that Google’s share is more like 30%, and Baidu’s at 63.9%.
Either way, that’s nothing compared to Google’s dominance nearly everywhere else in the world. Whether its inadequate localization or just the home field headstart Baidu has, Google is struggling—and now Bing hopes to step in and succeed where Google has faltered.
It’s little wonder that Google and Microsoft are salivating over this difficult market. With 350 million Internet users and a search market valued at 2B yuan ($293M) China is home to the world’s largest Internet market by users at more than 350 million. Of course, to compete in China means to bow to the Chinese government’s censorship requirements, a practice rife with controversy.
Meanwhile, as Search Engine Land points out, Google is working on getting in with mobile companies with Mandarin voice search, the Google-friendly iPhone and the Google-based Android mobile OS. While there are already Windows-based mobile devices, Bing probably still has a long way to go to compete there. (Remember, too, that the mobile Internet is a far greater proportion of Internet usage in China than it is in the US.)
What do you think? What would it take for Bing to succeed in China?