In most countries Google is the top search engine. Google leads in market share by a very large margin where it usually holds about 60 to 70 percent year after year. On the social media side, the top social networking site (SNS) is Facebook. It is the most widely used social network that anyone that wants to develop an online audience community, and passively influence them to buy a product or service would spend the most time Facebook alone. If ever other social media websites are used, often these are the ones that integrate well with Facebook. And for selling online on major ecommerce hubs that have the critical mass audience, merchants pay more attention to Amazon and eBay. Now in most cases, the situation is the same in other countries, but of course there are countries that do not follow the same trend. Countries where the most used search engine, social media site or ecommerce site may be totally different from the top sites in the United States. China is one example where all of these top sites do not apply. Not only because of their own preference, but also because many sites are blocked in China. Aside from that, the nature of the business in China may be driven by a different focus than companies in the United State. If you are doing business in China, or doing business with China, your whole SEO, social media and ecommerce campaign may be totally different from how you do it elsewhere. Starting of with the search engines, SNS and ecommerce sites you use. Below are the top search engines, social media sites and ecommerce sites in China.
Top 3 Search Engines in China
- Baidu - The main search engine in China. Aside from being the top search engine in China, it is the world’s 2nd top search engine. This can be attributed by the large online population of China that is 4 times the population of the United States and with more Internet users as well.
- Soso - A far second top search engine in China owned by Tecent. The engine is also robust search engine with advanced features common to other search engines such as image search, geographic maps and more. Tecent was popular for it’s internet chat software called QQ.
- Sogou – The 3rd top search engine in China owned by Sohu, Inc. Sogou translated in English means Search Dog. And Sohu translates to Search Fox. One of its technologies, the Sogou Pinyin Input Method Editor was some technology Google also has, the Google Pinyin Input Method Editor. Upon deeper investigations, Sogou had copyright allegations against Google in April 6, 2007. Google then admitted that it has used non-Google resources in it’s creation, thereafter a new release came out that no longer contained the Sogou Pinyin IME. If Sogou has some technology that Google was once interested in, their technology must be good.
Top 3 Social Media Sites in China
- Renren – Initially launched as Xiaonei that was concentrated more of students from schools similarly on how Facebook started. Xiaonei in English means on campus. Aside from that, the resemblance in appearance to Facebook also look too similar that people initially thought it was owned by Facebook. Renren is China’s social media site with the largest user base compared to it’s competitors. Renren when translated to english means everybody.
- Kaixin – Another Social Networking Site (SNS) in China. Kaixin attracts more of the working professionals in the urban areas in China. Kaixin in English means Happy Network.
- 51.com - This social media site is the opposite of Kaixin. This is the social network that targets more of the rural area residents in China.
Top 3 B2C Ecommerce Sites in China
- 360buy.com - Also known as Jingdong Mall has been growing at a rapid pace since 2004. The site is winner of multiple awards in China, including Chinese Enterprises Rising Star, 2008 Most Investment Value, 2009 Internet Users Favorite Online Shopping Mall, 2009 Top Commercial Brands and more. China’s iResearch Inc. ranks 360buy.com the highest stickiness value in B2B ecommerce sites.
- M18.com - This is also known as Mecoxlane and sells mainly clothing products. Their website started sometime in the early years of 2000 and serves as an ecommerce site of McCaw Lincheng Li which is China’s largest online clothing company. M18.com also carries other local and international brands aside from their own promoted brands.
- Joya - This site’s layout is familiar to everyone. Joya is Amazon in China. Like Amazon, it has the same look and feel which has always been a specimen of usability studies for it’s excellent ways to make the website so user friendly to everyone, thereby increasing sales. And like the main Amazon website, it sells almost any product under the sun.
Top 3 B2B Ecommerce Sites in China
- Alibaba - Founded in China in 1999, Alibaba serves an an ecommerce platform for wholesalers that buy products from China in large quantities. This helps fuel the import and export business in China. With it’s success, Alibaba now serves more countries including India, Japan, Korea and several countries in Europe. Since Alibaba has presence in multiple countries and is targeting customers all over the world, the website is primarily in English.
- HC360.com - A leading B2B ecommerce site in China, serves the world as well as domestic sales within China. It’s website may look text heavy and not product oriented because some of the products cannot be describe in a photo. Some are manufacturing process equipment or plants. And in some cases these equipment may not exist yet. This website would greatly help companies around the world in need of some product or raw material that China can supply. But you may need a Chinese reader to get you through the website to navigate and communicate.
- Made-In-China - Similar to Alibaba, the site is primarily in English. The company behind the website, Focus Technology Co. Ltd., created a service helping Chinese small to medium enterprises sell over the Internet. Over time, that expertise led to the Made-In-China website who is also one of the leading B2B ecommerce sites today.
The Large Chinese Market
If you are doing SEO for a company in China or is running a social media campaign, selling a product or service, targeting customers in China or worldwide, these are definitely websites you have to study and consider in your online marketing efforts. If you have no business in China, maybe selling to China is one thing you may want to consider. China has a population more than 4 times larger the population of the United States. And since 2007, China’s amount of Internet users has surpassed the number of Internet users in the US and is currently almost double in numbers. This is a very large market if you have the right product or service they may be interested in.
All this data was compiled as part of an assignment paper I have for my MBA program with emphasis on Information Systems at the University of Redlands. I am currently enrolled in a Global Information Systems course that is concentrated on outsourcing/offshoring, and was required to write a paper on the current IT situation in China and we were allow to chose any specific area that sparked our interest. Being in the SEO industry, of course this was my interest. If you want to know more about my research which includes all my sources, more statistical information and other details about the difference on how you would do SEO, Social Media or Ecommerce in China you may view and download my paper I shared on Scribd.