SEM in China

Some stats:

The Chinese access the Internet from home (68.5%), at work (38%), Internet cafes (25.3%) and via phones (2%), according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). And what are they doing once they are online? The top fifteen most frequently used services, according to the CNNIC’s 16th Statistical Survey Report on the Internet Development in China, July 2005 are as follows:

Email                    91%
News                    79%
Search engine               65%
Browsing               57%
Music                    46%
Instant messaging          45%
BBS                    41%
Film/TV                      38%
School/classmate BBS            29%
File uploads/downloads            26%
Games                    23%
Chatroom               21%
Shopping               20%
Personal Websites          17%
Banking                      14%

A word to the wise: Before beginning any marketing campaign, familiarize yourself with the local Internet players. Don’t assume that Google’s dominance transfers to China, because it doesn’t. The key local players include (links to all below):

   o Baidu –The number one search engine in China, according to Alexa, and Google’s main competitor. The NASDAQ listed company went public nine months ago.

   o Sina, NetEase, Sohu– Top tier portals (and NASDAQ listed) that deliver online games, advertising, and mobile value added services (MVAS).

   o China.com, Tom.com, and Allyes.com – Recognized brands in China with niche markets. China.com, for example, serves Chinese professionals.

   o QQ/Tencent – Also known at “2Q,” QQ delivers online messaging services.

   o Alibaba – The company assumed responsibility for Yahoo! China in 2005 and who runs the successful Chinese auction site (and eBay competitor) TaoBao and escrow payment service Alipay.

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