China’s netizens prefer Google to Baidu, Poll finds

The world’s largest search engine seems set to return to mainland China, eight year after departure

By Silvi writer

Baidu

Most China’s internet users may swift from baidu to google search, an online poll found out on Aug 8, as the tech giant from the US looks set to be back to the Chinese market.

The result shows the brand image of baidu search, the current market leader, still suffers, more than two years after a student sought out a controversial cancer treatment advertised among search results and died.

Nearly 86 percent of more than 2,275 respondents answered “google” when a poll on Sina Weibo, China’s twitter, asked they to choose between google and baidu, if the world’s largest search engine returns.

Only 6.6 percent of respondents fancied baidu, while the rest 7.7 percent answered “both ok”.

The poll disappeared from Sina Weibo after 2,275 respondents participated.

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The finding is embarrassing to baidu’s founder Robin Li Yanhong, who said on Aug 8 he was “very confident” to win google again in China.

The People Daily, mouthpiece of China’s central government, published an opinion on Aug 8 to welcome google return to the Chinese market, as long as the US tech giant complies with Chinese law.

Google took a major step in its row with the Chinese government in March 2010 by redirecting traffic from its Beijing-based search engine to its service in Hong Kong, marking its exit from the mainland market.

Baidu, the largest search engine in the mainland, saw its market share grow sharply after google’s departure.

According to various different statistics, baidu’s market share stands at about 70 percent in the mainland, where total number of internet users is more than 700 million.

But this week’s poll result put its brand image in question. In early 2016, a university student died after undergoing an experimental cancer treatment which he found using the baidu search engine.

A subsequent government inquiry found that paid search results on Baidu’s search engine had misled consumers, by mixing advertisers with others in search results.

China’s regulators then issued news rules, under which the company must clean up in-search healthcare adverts and the positioning of paid-for search adverts of any kind cannot only be based on the highest bidder.

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