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Steve Chiotakis: Google, of course, is king of the Internet search engines here in the United States. But despite the recent battle over its licensing in China, it’s still a distant second there to Baidu. Just today, the Chinese Internet search giant reported quarterly profits that more than doubled. What does that mean for Google going forward in China? Marketplace’s new China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz reports.
Rob Schmitz: Just ask anyone here walking the streets of Shanghai which search engine they prefer, and it starts to sound like a broken record.
Shanghai on the street: Baidu . . . Baidu . . . Baidu.
That last guy actually had to ask if Google was still operating in China. But forget this unscientific poll; the numbers speak for themselves — 70 percent of Web users in China use Baidu. Google: a paltry 24 percent, and that number’s been slipping since Google’s tiff with Chinese authorities this spring. Afterwards, it redirected Chinese users to its Hong Kong site. China Internet expert Wen Yunchao says Baidu is gobbling up Google’s market share.
Wen Yunchao (voice of interpreter): Baidu has good business sensibility. It seized the chance when Google pulled out from China and its improved its own marketing in the process.
Web users here don’t seem to have a problem with one dominant search engine, but the government does. An op ed today in an online state-run newspaper hammered Baidu for being too cozy with big business. Then again, if Baidu can’t take the heat, well, take it from Google: there’s always Hong Kong.
In Shanghai, I’m Rob Schmitz for Marketplace.
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