Having been out of the news loop for some weeks (It’s great to be without the Internet sometimes) due to an extended holiday in Yunnan I had to catch up on what has been happening in China. A lot it seems and hence I have made an overview of the interesting tidbits in the Chinese Internet world.
Search Engines, Names, Logos and Verbs
Changing names or rather the word order is what Yahoo plans to do. Yahoo China announced that Yahoo China will become .. China Yahoo. It’s a subtle difference showing the emphasis is on China and not on Yahoo. Whether the current logo will be changed as well is unknown.
The verb “To Google” has already found it’s way in the English language. Baidu may be intending to do the same for the Chinese language after having changed it’s search button to “Baidu it”.
Search and Services
Google has launched Shenghuo (Life Search), a localized version of Google Base. It’s a classifieds search engine for housing, jobs, train tickets, goods and restaurants.
Soso, as mentioned, now officially search powered by Google, opened up it’s own Answers version, called Wenwen. Other user driven Answer services in China are Baidu’s Zhidao, Sina’s Zhishi Ren and Yahoo’s Zhidao.
Legal Issues in Search and Blogging
Baidu is sued by moving company Dazhong Banchang Logistics for 500,000 Yuan. Competitive moving companies have been advertising on Baidu by buying the keyword “Dazhong Banchang” in Baidu’s bid ranking service. Contrary to Google you can buy yourself to the top in Baidu in the natural search results.
In another lawsuit Baidu faces a copyright infringement case over video downloads of the historical drama series “Zhen Guan Chang Ge” which were found on Baidu’s Hi Space.
On a different note, the real-name registration for bloggers seems to be put on hold. The original plan was to have all bloggers in China register with their real name and ID in order to get a better grip on them. Not an easy feat to accomplish, and also and administrative and costly challenge for the blog providers. The new plan is to encourage the blog service providers to promote the real-name registration to their users. For the moment I dare to say that this issue is shelved.
The latest number of Internet users is 144 million (by the end of March) according to vice information industry minister Xi Guohua.
CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center) released a report that, also by the end of March there were 39 million active (active within the last six months) mobile internet users in China. You can read the key findings in English here
Bloggers in China
Two well known bloggers in the internet world are at the moment in China. Yahoo blogger Jeremy Zawodny attended and spoke at an Alibaba event and Rand from SEOmoz is participating in the China search marketing tour that will stop over at SES Xiamen.
It’s always interesting to read first impressions on China. Both enjoy their time here and they also had a chance to experience firsthand the Chinese firewall. Jeremy has found out that not many Chinese searchers actually worry too much about it as for those who want to circumvent the firewall there are enough ways.
Rand noticed that the English version of Google.com actually shows all kind of “sensitive” search results. The problem here is that clicking Google’s preferred number one result, Wikipedia, gives a time out. In that case, Answers.com is a nice alternative. The Chinese version of Google shows different results, which I wrote about previously.
That’s the news for now. Coming Friday SES Xiamen starts and hopefully there will be interesting things to report from there.
Gemme van Hasselt is an Internet Marketing Consultant, living in Shanghai, China