Baidu Ecosystem: Top 5 Baidu Apps for Marketing in China


Baidu is China’s leading search engine and one of the world’s largest. With a user base of nearly 1 billion people, Baidu has become an essential part of everyday life in China. In addition to its search services, Baidu offers maps, email, and cloud storage services as well as mobile apps for messaging and other purposes. For businesses looking to reach consumers in China, it can be hard to know where to start with such a complex ecosystem that spans so many different platforms. This blog post will break down some of the most popular apps within Baidu’s ecosystem and explain how they work together or what they offer users.

Quick Recap on Baidu

As the most popular search in China Baidu takes over 70% of the search engine market share and over 80% of users. In comparison, only 4% of internet researches are done through google in China. It makes Baidu the 5th position on the list of websites with the most traffic in the world.

What are some of the most Consulted sub-sites of the Baidu ecosytem?

Baidu offers a wide range of services on top of its well-known search engines. This includes everything from Maps, Videos app, online encyclopedia to cloud storage or forums communities such as Baidu Tieba… All these apps or sub-site work together in what we call the Baidu eco-system and form a super app. While Baidu brings the majority of the traffic to its sub-sites, they allow users to get more tailored services without having to install an actual app on their phone (although they have the option to do so).

Learn more on the Baidu ecosystem

In order to close the gap with its competitor ecosystem, Baidu has been working hard to create a more seamless users experience thanks to AI. This is good news for both users and marketers, as they can both win from this improvement. While a nicer experience is nice for users, better integrated Baidu apps, also serve marketers than can now fully take advantage of these networks of apps.

Some apps from the Baidu Ecosystem

Baidu ecosystem has a total of 57 subsites (2021:

  1. Baidu baike,
  2. Baidu Wenku,
  3. Baidu Zhidao,
  4. Baidu Tieba
  5. Baidu BaiJiahao
  6. Baidu Jingyan
  7. Baidu Kongjian.
  8. Baidu Yuedu
  9. baidu map
  10. Baidu Video
  11. Baidu Hao123 and so on (full list here)

Here is a quick intro to some of our favorite Baidu Sub-site to boost your SEO while working on your Reputation in China

1. Baidu Baike 百科

Baidu Baike is an online encyclopedia that covers all areas of knowledge. It serves the Chinese user base. It basically is the Chinese version of Wikipedia since the latter is not available in the country. The Chinese internet giant, Baidu Baike was started in 2006.

Baidu Baike Traffic as of Octobre
Baidu Baike Traffic as of October 2021

As of October 2020, it had 21 million entries and more than 7.17 million editors. Almost 60% of traffic generated on Baike, is referrals traffic coming directly from Baidu and its subsites. Baidu Baike is also one of the most visited Websites in China.

Why should businesses have a page on Baidu Baike?

Credibility and Ranking. Having a company page on Baidu Baike is not necessary but it sure is a nice addition to your online reputation strategy in China. Baike page tends to rank high on Baidu, so it would secure your position on your brand keywords on Baidu even if your website does not rank yet. On top of that, your Baike page would have a link to your website, which would greatly help with your website authority on Baidu, thus your ranking.

TOD's Baike Page - undercover marketing china
TOD’s Baike Page

Not only does having a Baike page helps with SEO and organic traffic, but it also helps with your online reputation. A Baike page with your company name shows Chinese netizens that your company is real and legitimate.

Bonus: Baidu Baike, contrary to Wikipedia can display paid advertising.

2. Baidu Wenku 文库

Baidu’s sub-site, Baidu Wenku is an online library where people can upload and download books, documents, and articles in all types of format. It hosts both free content as well as paid items allowing writers to monetize their work and users to access premium content but also marketers to have access to more promotion tools.

Baidu Wenku used to be a free document-sharing platform. Although, many restrictions existed such as not allowing URLs in content or QR codes and contact info, Baidu’s indexing and ranking on the 1st page of search results made it easy for marketers. As a consequence, about 80% of all documents listed on Baidu Wenku actually were undercover ads.

Wenku use for businesses?

As of today, Baidu Wenku has a commercial offer to promote content and display it on top of Baidu’s SERP. However, contrary to paid ads, these results will appear as organic results.

undercover ads on baidu wenku app
Wenku Search Tool of Baidu – Results for the Search Request Thailande – a perfect example of the use of Baidu Wenku by a SPA for promotion purposes.

When using the business version of Baidu Wenku, you can include your logo, a link to your website, your contact information, and so on. Content from Baidu Wenku commercial account usually ranks right under Baidu paid ads and has high authority. Wenku pages are usually indexed by Baidu relatively quickly and are a good option to integrate into your backlinks strategy and help with boosting your website ranking.

3. Baidu Zhidao 知道

Baidu Zhidao is a Q&A platform, like Yahoo Answer. Chinese netizens usually use Baidu’s question-and-answer section to find answers to their questions about anything. Baidu Zhidao, also known as Baidu Knows was launch in November 2005, and with almost 700millions monthly visits, it is one of the biggest Q&A in China with its competitor Zhihu.

baidu ecosystem - baidu zhidao traffic
Baidu Zhidao Traffic as of October 2021

Baidu Zhidao for Businesses

Baidu Zhidao is a great tool for brands in China. It allows companies to build their online reputation “undercover” through UGC (user-generated content). Just like marketers use Quora to promote their products/services subtly (or not), brands can use Baidu Zhidao to do the same. Just like Baidu Wenku content, Baidu Zhidao Q&A ranks quite high on Baidu’s SERP.

Why do we use the term undercover? Well, there are two ways to content linking to you on Baidu Zhidao.

  1. Real users that create content organically
  2. Companies that can create content acting as normal user as well as official branded content.

Indeed, there are two types of accounts on Baidu Zhidao, the classic personal users account that allows one to ask and answer questions and the brand account that offers more promotion tools.

baidu zhidao mobile app home page - china q&a
Baidu Zhidao Home page

We suggest your Baidu Zhidao strategy combines both approaches. Have a network of writers using personal accounts creating content that refers to your brands, as well as a brand account to take full advantage of the promotion tools but also engage with users and prompt them to actively take part in the conversation.

4. Baidu Tieba 贴吧

Baidu Tieba is a forum-like platform where people talk about what they like. The Chinese social media site launched in 2003 and is one of the most popular platforms for online communication in China. Baidu Tieba’s success is a testament to its community of active and engaged users. By 2015, Baidu Tieba had accumulated over 300 million monthly active users with 1.5 billion total registered accounts on the platform. As of June 2021, there were more than 23 million communities on the app.

forum marketing china - baidu-tieba-thailand-sub-forums-tourism-china-marketing
Baidu Tieba – Thailand Bar (or Sub)

There are thousands of topics discussed on the platform; everyone can find what they want. Users can post text, pictures, or videos on this site. If you still struggle to picture, think of a Chinese Reddit. Although the two apps’ UX is different, the forum’s functionality is similar. For instance, what users call a sub on Reddit is called a bar on Tieba.

Baidu Tieba for businesses?

Just like Baidu Zhidao, using Baidu Tieba in your SEO and reputation strategy in China is a smart move. Indeed, most of the traffic on Tieba comes directly from Baidu Search accounting for almost 40% of the total traffic, while direct traffic comes only second with 24% of traffic (Q4 2021). This means that a bar (sub) or Tieba post that ranks well on Baidu can get a lot of organic traffic.

Not only a brand can get a lot of visibility from Tieba but also improve its reputation. Just like, there are many subreddit from products reviews and recommendations, there are tones of bars serving these same purposes on Baidu Tieba. This type of content usually gets more trust from consumers and allows them to get answers to their questions from peers.

5. Baidu Baijiahao 百家号

The Baidu sub-site, Baijiahao is a news aggregator-style platform with over 4.2 million (2021) publishers and creates an “ecosystem” for people who want to consume media in new ways. It was launched in 2016 and has since been monetized.

baidu ecosystem - Baijiahao

Baijiahao for Businesses?

Baijiahao offers different types of business accounts that all have different promotions tools.

  • Media
  • Business
  • Government
  • Others

With an official verified account, publishers will get better visibility not only on the app but also on Baidu. Learn more on our Baijiaohao Introduction post.

Why should you take advantage of the Baidu ecosystem?

The article mentioned it several times, but using Baidu’s subsites can really help boost your SEO with backlink and reputation in China through third parties mentioned of the company (you could call this undercover marketing or organic PR).

Optimize your Baidu Ranking

On the SEO topic, while Baidu won’t admit it, it has a bias for its own mini-sites, SERP results often show otherwise. In fact, Baidu does tend to index its own products higher and faster than its competitor and you can always find Baidu sub-sites pages among the top results. There are two ways to explain that:

1. The subsites of Baidu are SEO – According to the official announcement from Baidu, Baidu’s subsites rank well because of their well-optimized structure, frequent update, and excellent linking structure. They also get a lot of organic traffic and have a low bouncing rate because they appeal to netizens.

2. Baidu’s subsites are “endowed” with extra favor from Baidu’s. Because Baidu’s algorithm trusts and favors its subsites.

It’s probably a mix of both, and in recent years with have seen more diverse results on SERP pages, notably with the rise of Q&A platform Zhihu. In any case, they never beat Baidu Ads on top of results pages.

No matters the reasons, being present and linking your website on Baidu’s subsites (when possible) is an excellent way to give your website more authority and help it rank higher on some important keywords at a low cost.

Lire aussi: Baidu SEO Guide

Invest in the Baidu eco-system and improve your Online Reputation

While the Baidu sub-site can help you with SEO and consequently brand awareness, a good content strategy on these social platforms will greatly help with your company’s reputation in China. Indeed, the recurrence of (positive) posts mentioning you will instill trust into your target audience’s minds as it shows you are a real company that is talked about a lot. You can see creating content on these apps as nurturing.

The other point of content on these platforms is the importance of peer reviews and word of mouth in China. First, you instill interest and curiosity in people’s minds after they hear about your products on all their favorite platforms, then when they are looking into purchasing from you, they can actually find reviews from other (real or not) users. I invite you to read this post about Reviews in China

Getting started on this platform will take some time, your marketing team will be in charge of creating interesting content, but after a while, as you grow in visibility the content will create itself naturally and your job will then be to manage this content and avoid bad publicity.

Conclusion on our introduction to Baidu’s Eco-system

Baidu is the largest search engine in China and has a lot of power over what people see. As such, it’s important to understand how you can take advantage of this position when marketing online in China. Baidu’s ecosystem of app’s first function is to offers users a seamless experience and keep them in the loop. The longer users stay inside Baidu’s ecosystem, the more money Baidu makes from advertising. However, while this ecosystem was designed to keep users in, marketers can absolutely take advantage of it to promote brands and improve their website ranking.

Want to start using Baidu’s apps for your marketing in China?

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