Baidu is Chinese for Google
20 October 2008
I sat down with Lynn Fong and some members of H&K’s China Digital team last week for an interesting discussion on social-media in China. When thinking about social media, I myself often over look how user-behaviors influence the landscapes differently from country-to-country. Maybe it’s just that I love writing obnoxious comments on my friend’s Facebook walls that I simply assume everyone else does too?
Popular U.S. companies that come to China such as Facebook, Amazon and Google don’t always do quite as well here since it’s extremely hard for them to localize their platforms which were originally designed with U.S. social behaviors in mind. Take the example of search. Chinese don’t differentiate between paid and non-paid search the same way we do in the U.S. For some in the US, you’d rather throw your computer out the window than click on one of the paid-for, “sponsored links” on the right side of our Google search query. The typical Chinese user however see’s both sets of results, paid and non-paid, as helpful. The Chinese equivalent to Google is Baidu, which we do represent as an agency on some levels. Baidu is designed to search and highlight both sets of results equally whereas Google in China still separates the two as if one had the plague and one was helpful. So if you’re wondering why everyone in China doesn’t just use Google, the answer is that local versions understand the local behaviors better and have designed their platforms with themselves in mind.
If you’re interested in exploring social-media in China in a bit more detail, Lynn’s team has created a great digital library of stats and information accessible internally by H&K staff only by clicking on this link: URL: http://10.2.29.14/digital/library.html