Google China Search Revenue Lags Yahoo, Baidu

Google may dominate the market for search-engine advertising in the United States and other countries, but the company lagged far behind its main rivals in China during the first quarter of 2006, said market analyst Analysys International.

"Google’s business in China has never been very big," said Chen Haiying, an analyst at Analysys, in Beijing.

In terms of revenue, Google ranked third among search engines in China with a 13.2 percent share of the market. Baidu.com, China’s most popular search engine, ranked first, with 43.9 percent of the market, Analysys said in a report. Yahoo China, which is operated by Alibaba.com, had the second-largest share of the market, with a 21.1 percent share. Yahoo holds a 40 percent stake in Alibaba.

Sohu.com’s search engine came in fourth, with 9.2 percent of the market.

Overall, China’s search engine market was worth 303 million renminbi (US$37.7 million as of March 31, the last day of the period) in revenue during the first quarter, Analysys said. Based on that estimate, Baidu generated 133 million renminbi in revenue during the first quarter, while Yahoo China and Google earned 64 million renminbi and 40 million renminbi, respectively.

Analysys’ estimate follows closely with Baidu’s first-quarter results, which put the company’s advertising revenue at 132 million renminbi. Google doesn’t break out its revenue by individual country, but said its revenue from outside the United States accounted for 42 percent of its total revenue, or US$945 million, during the first quarter. Alibaba is a privately held company and does not report quarterly financial results.

Analysys did not release figures for China’s search-engine market covering the fourth quarter of 2005. However, there has been no substantial change in market share between that period and the first quarter, Chen said.

-Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service (Beijing Bureau)

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