Bing has identified the area of Chinese search market that it will target to expand its presence there. Interestingly, the search engine intends to go after searches from the country that are executed in English. According to Microsoft, that segment is estimated to be roughly 5% of the total Chinese search market.
Why focus on that specific niche? The reasons appear twofold: The English query pool appears to be quite monetizable, and Bing is further behind on Chinese-language search results than it is in English. According to TechInAsia, as published on Yahoo! News, the strategy was outlined as a short term method by Microsoft VP Shen Xiangyang.
However, according to that same report, there is a wrinkle to all of this that may result in Bing finding itself in the same situation that it endures in the US market:
But therein lies the rub: what percent of those 5 percent of English searches come over VPNs, where Bing will have to compete with Google on even footing? Certainly, nearly every expatriate in China has a VPN. And many high-end Chinese users –the sorts of people who would be searching in English — have VPNs too.
Assuming that that is in fact the case, how the 5% figure would be impacted is up for debate. Still, this move allows Bing to focus, and perhaps find a measurable and meaningful foothold in the Chinese market, which due to its unique landscape, is one place where Google does not rule the roost.
One final note: Here we find Bing specifically interested in a product, or product direction, rather, that will lead revenue generation. Bing also recently started charging for access to its API. Microsoft may be turning up the heat on Bing to bring in more dollars, and thus set fire to fewer on a quarterly basis.
Top Image Credit: Philip Jägenstedt