Finding a good story for Google in China will be difficult

Finding a good story for Google in China will be difficult
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Finding a good story for Google in China is going to be tough, says Andreas Pouros, chief operating officer at Greenlight, a leading independent search specialist marketing and technology firm.

His comments follow on the back of Baidu’s results. These show it continues to dominate the search engine landscape in China. Baidu also reported its advertiser numbers have increased by almost 26% on 2009 levels, reaching 272,000 – a clear sign of the deep chasm in
the paid search arena between it and its nearest rival, Google.

Since June, Google has curtailed its searchable Web index to comply with China’s censorship laws. According to Pouros, as it now provides fewer results, it cannot post as many advertisements as it had previously. Furthermore, research earlier this year from leading media-focused research, publishing and consulting company, Screen Digest, indicates almost two thirds of search users are happy to use Baidu or smaller Chinese search engines.

According to Cyrine Amor, advertising analyst at Screen Digest, Google is losing market share with the problems it encountered lately with the government. Moreover, Google is also about to end its contracts with seven adwords resellers in China. No reason has been provided for this but Ms Amor says this will likely see Google’s share slashed by up to 10-12%.

Screen Digest’s figures from earlier this year show Google accounted for 33% share of the Chinese search market, behind Baidu.

In paid search, Baidu has been enjoying a healthy lead. In early 2010, Screen Digest estimated total online advertising revenues in China would reach almost 1.5 billion in 2010, with Baidu accounting for the lion’s share ($945 million), then Google with $472 million.

By having over 60% share of the search market in China, has Baidu reached the tipping point much as Google had in western Europe, where its growth from 60%-90% share was incredibly rapid, with its competitors largely incapable of closing the gap? Perhaps it has, says Pouros.

What is certain, according to Pouros, is that Google needs a new game plan if it is to achieve the momentum required to catch a clear home grown market leader.

(Andreas Pouros is Chief Operating Officer at Greenlight. He has been involved in search marketing for eleven years, working for some of the biggest and most prestigious blue chip companies in the world. Andreas is responsible for an international team of Search consultants, developers, programmers, and copywriters. In his role, he provides guidance to a multitude of well-known brands, including Santander, Monarch, Vodafone UK, Thomas Cook, New Look as well as a number of government bodies.

Andreas is an established search marketing commentator whose opinions have been published in NMA, Marketing, B2B Marketing, Media Week, Investors Business Daily, Media Post, Wall Street Journal and

He is also an experienced conference speaker and delivers search marketing training courses with the IDM and NMA, as well as carrying out in-house consultancy.

Greenlight is a leading independent, award winning search specialist marketing and technology firm, the largest of its kind in Europe and the fastest growing. With over 100 blue-chip clients including Santander, Vodafone UK, New Look, Interflora, Co-operative Financial Services,
Nespresso and ghd, Greenlight is a leader in the search marketing space, and is recognized worldwide for its commitment to delivering record ROI for its clients and investing in the future of search.

Greenlight publishes widely read industry reports, original research, speaking at trade events, and delivering a highly respected search training programme in conjunction with the IDM. Founded in 2001, Greenlight is headquartered in London, with offices in New York.


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