It’s been more than two and a half years since Google left the Chinese search market, and the market share for its search and maps segments has continued to wane.
Marbridge Daily recently called attention to October search engine numbers from CNZZ that put Google at fourth place with 4.72 percent of page views, down from 5.1 percent the month before. Part of the reason for the slide was the arrival of search newcomer Qihoo 360, which was believed to have capture 9.64 percent of the market last month.
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Qihoo launched its search engine in August and quickly jumped into second place. CEO Zhou Yongyi has set his sights on a 15 to 20 percent share of the market, enough to “destroy” Baidu’s monopoly. Baidu isn’t taking this lying down, though, as it has sparred with Qihoo over links to its site. Baidu’s share of visits was estimated at 72.97 percent, down from around 75 percent in September.
Last week, the Chinese government called a meeting representatives from the major search players to have them sign an agreement for fair competition. One specific issue was adherence to the robot.txt protocol that instructs search engines whether to crawl a site. Qihoo has faced accusations that it was copying search results and ignoring the robot.txt file.
Google also suffered a blow to its Google Maps platform in China last quarter. Mobisights reports that the search engine’s mapping service is now in sixth place in the country with just 9 percent share. It saw a steep drop in the third quarter, largely because of Apple’s decision to swap out Google Maps in iOS 6. In China, the iOS Maps application uses Autonavi’s data.
Autonavi ranks first among mapping services in China with an estimated 25.9 percent market share. Baidu is in second with 19.1 percent. In an effort to strengthen its mobile revenue, Baidu is investing heavy resources in improving its Maps product and it has spun off its Location-Based Services division into its own unit.
Image credit: Li Xin / AFP / Getty Images