Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has set its sights on being the No.1 search engine in China. It will have to get ahead of the top search company there, Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU), which has 60% of the market.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the US company’s top man in the big Asian country said “Certainly, we would like to aspire to be a market leader in five years.”
The Chinese may like US goods and service, but they are not likely to give Google any additional edge in the search business. They have effectively spoiled the US software business in the country though piracy, but keeping the American search engines out may be more difficult. But, Baidu has its ways.
Among other things, Baidu is almost certainly more likely to accept Chinese government censorship of search results as a way to remain in favor. Google rarely cooperates with the censorship process unless it must to stay in country.
Baidu also has the advantage of being created to target Chinese language searches. Google began with English and has had to adapt.
What Google wants is China will be very different from what it gets.
Douglas A. McIntyre
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