China’s search engine companies’ revenue amount to 158.08 billion yuan (US$22.98 bn) in 2019 and it is estimated that revenue will reach 183.17 billion yuan (US$26.63 bn) by the end of 2020.

What does the Chinese search engines market in China looks like

In 2020, Baidu’s market share dominates the search engine market in China, in terms of all platforms (68.66%) and mobile (85.08%). Mobile still accounts for the biggest search engine market share. Baidu is followed by 360 Search and Sogou.


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In China, about 70% of users use 2 or more search engines to carry out their searches, so the scenario for those who want to break into the Chinese market becomes quite complex.

As we all know, in China, Google is banned by the government, and the most popular search engine in is Baidu. Baidu is built to mainly process results in Chinese and the first page contains very little space for organic results, as it prioritizes advertisements and banners, thus making it very difficult to gain visibility in the top positions. Like Google, it offers various tools (maps, images, videos, a search browser and an online encyclopedia similar to Wikipedia).

Since China is a huge market, of over 1 billion people, Baidu is now the third most used search engine in the world, and anyone who wants to start entering the Chinese market must learn about it, or rely on a local partner to be able to overcome the enormous linguistic difficulties.

Qihoo 360 is spreading rapidly among Chinese users, offering advanced antivirus and security features even for the mobile version. It has a nice graphical interface and a very powerful search algorithm.

Sogou was Baidu’s main competitor for years, until the arrival of Qihoo 360, which pushed it into the third position. It still has a stable 10% of monthly users.

Baidu dominates the search engine market in China

Balance Water Brand - GMA Client in China
Balance is an Australian Water Brand that works with GMA

Baidu: a bit of background

In 2000, Li founded Baidu (, the Chinese’s dominant search engine. Baidu definitely wins the Chinese search engine market, with 70% of the market share. That is incredible! It has more than one billion mobile active users.

If you still have a doubt about the importance to get visibility on Baidu, you have to review your position. No more Google here. If you are in Europe and you need to look for something online, you will likely use Google, but in China Google is replaced by Baidu.

Baidu offers many services such as Baidu Maps, Baidu Tieba (it is the Baidu “Social Network” that allows you to have a diary or company social page, where you can go to share status, photos, and videos. It is possible to comment and follow public profiles) and Baidu Zhidao (it is a question and answer service provided by the Baidu platform, where only registered users can interact with questions and providing answers. It is very influential in terms of positioning).


Baidu Marketing is necessary for China

To be effective, a website on Baidu must be host in China or Hong Kong, must be translated into Chinese, it must have an eccentric layout and plenty of information.

Baidu offers many ways for the good management of Sem (search engine marketing).

They are:

  • Baidu Display Network Advertising: it is an advertising banner service offered by Baidu that allows you to invest in ads that appear on external sites and earn money based on the number of clicks on the ads.
  • Baidu PPC: it is a way to increase the visibility and presence of a brand on the search engine. It will work great combine to a good SEO strategy. Both channels will support each other in a sustainable way
  • Baidu Tuiguang: is the Chinese equivalent of Google Adwords, the platform dedicated to SEM activities. Consisting of a Search part, and a Display with about 600,000 sites affiliated with the Baidu network.
  • Baidu Brand Zone: it is a sort of mini-site that appears at the beginning of the SERP. Show information about the brand and its products. It costs 20.000 € per month.

Sogou: a Chinese Search Engine for Wechat?

Launched in 2004, Sogou is the second largest Chinese search engine. Sogou (, the internet company and artificial intelligence firm, operates in the search engine market and it offers a large game of Internet value-added services with the Web games. It offers primary products such as Sogou Pinyin input and Sogou Web Directory.
Sogou reported total revenue in the third quarter of 2019 of $ 314.9 million, up 14% year-on-year. It has 500 million users per day via the input method and 400 million users per day via search engines

In 2017, Sogou started testing a general search engine within WeChat, allowing users to access the internet within the app.

Recently, Sogou announced its plan to focus on artificial intelligence and natural language processing for building a next-generation search engine, in order to become an “innovator and pioneer in artificial intelligence in China”.

Qihoo 360 Search: Baidu’s contender?

new domain for 360 search

360 Search is the third-largest Chinese search engine in China. 360 Search is the Chinese version of Bing. It was founded by Qihoo 360, the No.1 Cybersecurity company in China with no.1 free anti-virus software in China. 360 Search holds nearly 30% of the desktop search market share.

Their main target is the small and medium businesses that are looking for advertising solutions. This strategy attracts many small businesses that cannot support the expensive ad services on Baidu.

Moreover, Qihoo360 only has a few advertisements. Therefore, this is a big opportunity for small and medium businesses.

One of its main benefits is the simple Account opening process: for normal industries, you can create the account within 3-5 working days.

There are other search engines in the Chinese landscape, such as Shenma, specifically designed for mobile phone devices. While Baidu dominates the market, there are possibilities for others to grow.


Baidu will continue dominating the Chinese search engine market for years to come

Even if there is quite a varied scenario and Baidu is losing some points, we still believe that each company that wants to enter the Chinese market should be present and visible on Baidu. This will act as a springboard for your brand.

gma agency

Gentlemen Marketing Agency is a digital marketing agency that is expert in helping foreign companies to establish or strengthen their position in China. We can help your brand increase sales in China, thanks to our services like:

  • Advertising
  • Baidu SEO&SEM
  • Social Media
  • PR
  • KOL & Influencers
  • E-commerce and cross-border e-commerce
  • Distribution

Read more about Search Engines in China:


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