With over 60 Internet regulations, the Chinese government has successfully built a virtual Great Wall that even Google got tired of climbing over. On March 22, 2010, Google officially redirected all traffic from its Chinese mainland site to its uncensored Hong Kong site. Eight days later, all hits for Google and its other international sites ended in a DNS error for mainland Chinese netizens. Some fear the ban may be permanent.
But where Google left off, baidu.com, a Chinese Internet search engine and Google’s closest rival in China, has emerged to fill the gap. Well, if the shoe fits. And what a snug fit it is.
Baidu, owing to its domestic roots, has emerged as the leading search engine service provider in mainland China. Knowing one’s users in and out, their environment and culture has proved to be the home court advantage of the 10 year-old search engine. Baidu actively censors its content in conjunction with the government’s policies. Its host of local offerings makes the World Wide Web more accessible to its users. With over 140 million sites indexed and growing, Baidu has carved its niche in Chinese Internet so deeply that it is here to stay.
Despite the censorship, and perhaps because of it, Internet marketers would be well advised to tap into growing market that is the community of Chinese Internet users. Approximated at a staggering 338 million in June 2009, this number jumped by 13.4% from 298 million in a period of six months. This trend is most likely to continue with the reality that the Internet has become an essential aspect of life in the 21st century – yes, even one in virtual China with its virtual wall. 81.6% of Chinese Internet users cannot imagine a life separate from the Internet. A sentiment that is echoed by netizens all over the world.
Implementing Chinese SEO on Baidu would target the steadily rising group of Internet users in the largest country in the world. It would be like putting your site’s name in Chinese on GPS for the World Wide Web. Over 338 million users will know where your site is and the potential for marketing and generating income would increase dramatically.
Chinese SEO on Baidu will prove to be a long-term and worthy investment. The ratio between the cost of advertising and the extent of the market range is certainly a profitable one and Baidu’s longevity is undeniable. Claiming a stake in what will become cyberspace prime property in the years to come will ensure your spot in the middle of it all when the real estate booms.