Baïdu, the Chinese search engine giant

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What is Baïdu?

In the West, Google reigns supreme when it comes to finding information on the Internet.

But in China, another player dominates the market: Baïdu. Our SEO Agency takes a look at the history and characteristics of this Chinese web colossus.

What is Baïdu?

What is Baïdu?

Baidu is a Chinese search engine that largely dominates the national market, with more than 70% market share. Founded in 2000 by Robin Li and Eric Xu, Baidu has become the leading Internet portal in China, offering a wide range of services in addition to search, such as :

  • Latest news: Access to news articles and dispatches from Chinese and international sources.
  • Images: Search and browse images, photos and memes popular in China.
  • Music: Music streaming platform with a vast library of Chinese and international songs.
  • Forums: Spaces for discussing and sharing information on a variety of subjects, very popular in China.
  • Questions and answers: Service enabling users to ask questions and obtain answers from the Baidu community.

From its creation to its omnipresence in China

Founded by Robin Li, a Chinese engineer trained in the United States, Baïdu was launched in 2000.

From the outset, the start-up has positioned itself as a Chinese-language search tool, offering a wide range of search options in Chinese. index pages to offer a complete user experience optimal. Success was not long in coming, and the company quickly attracted millions of Internet users.

Economic nationalism and protectionism

The meteoric rise of this Chinese company owes nothing to chance.

While Baïdu is rolling out its services, the Chinese authorities are tightening their web regulation policy.

The electronic Great Wall, put in place in 1997, became impassable for many foreign sites. From outright bans to drastic restrictions on access, the situation was particularly favourable for local companies such as Baïdu.

The strengths of the Baïdu search engine

Chinese orientation

Baïdu has taken advantage of the protectionist environment to expand its offering and establish itself on the Chinese web. Unlike Google, whose algorithm is based on the Page Rank which works on the basis of links between pages, Baïdu focuses solely on content in Chinese. By using a specific search technology, it makes the most of the richness and complexity of the Chinese language. An undeniable advantage over its Western competitors.

A diversified range of services

In addition to its search engine, Baïdu is developing its activities and offering other useful services to Chinese Internet users:

  • Baïdu Maps: online mapping solution;
  • Baïdu Baike: collaborative encyclopaedia inspired by Wikipedia;
  • Baïdu Wangpan: online storage platform;
  • Baïdu PostBar: netizen discussion forum.

This strategy is enabling it to gobble up a large share of the market and make Internet users ever more captive.

Strategic partnerships and acquisitions

To strengthen its position, Baïdu is also focusing on cooperation with local and global companies.

Numerous partnerships have been formed, for example with Microsoft to integrate Bing and with Sina Corp to offer a microblogging service. In addition, the Chinese firm has no hesitation in buying up promising companies to extend its empire, invest in innovative sectors and consolidate its offering.

The rise of Baïdu in the West

Long confined to the Chinese market, Baïdu seems determined to establish its presence on the international stage. To achieve this, it is banking on :

  • Chinese expatriate communities: by offering them a search engine adapted to their language of origin;
  • Chinese language students and researchers: who will benefit from a reliable and relevant source of information;
  • Companies looking to expand their commercial activities in China: thanks to the digital marketing and SEO support offered by the Asian giant.

A winning strategy?

Does this international roll-out mean success for Baïdu? It's hard to say at the moment. While the search engine has undeniable strengths, there are still a number of obstacles in its path:

    • Increased competition from Google, Bing or Yahoo ! on the Western market;
    • The need to adapt its services to linguistic and cultural specificities;
    • Growing public mistrust of Chinese technologies, particularly in terms of privacy.

What does the future hold for Baïdu in China and internationally?

Innovation and diversification

Baïdu has no intention of resting on its laurels. To maintain its leadership in China and conquer new markets, the company is betting on innovation. Among the avenues being explored:

  • Research into artificial intelligence, as demonstrated by the creation of the Baïdu Brain laboratory;
  • Investment in the virtual reality sector with the DuSee platform;
  • Projects involving autonomous or electric vehicles.

So the story of Baïdu is far from over. This Chinese giant, which has been revolutionising the search engine market for almost two decades, continues to chart its course towards global market domination in the face of Western competition.


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