Grasping the lion’s share of over 55%, Baidu is the biggest search engine in China. However, other domestic search engines such as 360 and Sogou, whose market share of this November are 26.75% and 11.45%, respectively, show a growing trend. Companies who want to export to China or optimize their sales performance in China have to take several important facts into account when offering their products to approach their target group and thus reach potential customers.
Chinese search engines speak Chinese
First of all, companies need to be aware of the fact that search queries in China are entered in Chinese. It is therefore recommended to translate one’s company website into the language of the People’s Republic of China in order to increase its relevance for Chinese search engines. Search queries in China mainland are often entered by using simplified Chinese characters, whereas, complicated Chinese characters are employed by Chinese-speaking regions such as Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Further, Chinese-based websites are ranked much higher than e.g. Germany-based ones by search engines such as Baidu & Co. Besides, the loading time would be much shorter, if a company has a web hosting service in China. Also, Hosting would be helpful for companies when a great amount of content information in the form of an online catalogue is presented. Consequently, it is quintessential for companies to secure domain names such as .cn or .com/cn.
Since the translation and the work of creating the optimal content for the search engines could be quite tricky, it is strongly recommended to find Chinese local speakers with relevant B2B online marketing knowledge to do the job instead of having the data translated by machines.
How can companies be found by Chinese search engines without having their own Chinese homepage?
As aforementioned, because of the high administrative expenses for exports to China, which might be a capital barrier for many small and medium-sized enterprises, portal marketing is the best solution.Companies could present their products at Chinese local directories or market places, so that new customers would be targeted with high efficiency. The biggest online platform in China is 1688.com (Chinese Alibaba). Similar portals such as hc360.com, makepolo.com etc. all enjoy high visibility and satisfactory rankings on Chinese search engines, thanks to their efforts on SEO. Foreign companies, especially small and medium-sized ones which have limited capital resources should use these portals to offer their products with lower cost and higher efficiency when targeting such a new market.