oogle is often synonymous with worldwide achievement and is globally cited as the most successful company of the last decade. However, in the Western World, only few people are aware that in China, the world’s most populated country and future global leader, the number one global search engine is actually trailing behind a local competitor called Baidu. As at the end of 2005, Google still owns 27% of the market, a slight increase from the 24% it had two years earlier. However, it is far behind Baidu, which market share sky rocketed from 2.5 to 46% in the same period!
The reasons behind this recent switch in Internet users’ preferences are pretty worrying for Google. Indeed, the current Chinese version of the search engine is highly unreliable, to say the least, as admitted by Google China team members. The revealing words “Google China is not something we are proud of” were even used. The website is actually just a translated version of the international search engine, hosted in the United States and absolutely not tailored to meet the Chinese market. Because it does not follow the communist party’s guideline, the access to the site has been totally blocked in the past and many of the links it displays lead to repeated error messages. This has encouraged a huge chunk of the population to switch to local search engines, most notably Baidu, a blatant copy of Google’s interface and algorithm, which in addition receives the backing of the government.
In addition, Google is not very well perceived on the Chinese market for other reasons than simple technical reliability. Indeed, there is a huge gap between what the company does and how the Chinese people perceive it. For many of them, Google is only an American search engine, not very accessible with its international name and its lack of entertainment products. It clearly lags behind Baidu, the “local” brand much closer to the customers’ life. Chinese customers actually... [continues]
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(2008, 10). China: Google's Achille Heel. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 2008, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/China-Googles-Achille-Heel-171574.html
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