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Google invests in Baidu

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 657 posted 12:34 am on Jun 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Miami Herald article [miami.com] requires a free subscription
Now, Google is making an investment in one of China's largest search engines, Baidu, which means ``hundred times.'' Google won't comment, but the investment was confirmed by U.S. investor Tim Draper of Menlo Park's Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which invested $10 million in Baidu. The move might give Google a way to secure its position in China and gain leverage over its chief competitor there.

A good article about Google's foray into Asia. The article mainly talks about China and Japan, but it's surprisingly well researched for an English language piece.

This news about Google's investment in Baidu looked interesting. I wonder what the investment entails as Baidu has quite a large market share in China now if the stats on their site are to be believed.

China is expected to be the market to watch. Its online ad revenue is still minuscule, but is growing 50 percent a year, says Piper Jaffray analyst Safa Rashtchy. So far, only 6 percent of China's population is online.

I have to completely review my spending in China now. Everything is PPC now it seems. It's hard to tell what will be worth the money as it's all so new.



WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 657 posted 3:55 am on Jun 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Wow. Good find. I would have thought the buying spree would start after the IPO, but I guess they have enough cash.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 657 posted 3:56 am on Jun 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'd give 'em credit (they're most likely good for it). ;)


WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 657 posted 8:06 am on Jun 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting news.

I thought this was quite interesting:

One of Google's biggest challenges in China will be marketing, says Guo Liang, a professor in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and an expert on China's Internet. Unlike Yahoo, which translates as ``elegant tiger,'' or Chinese portal Sohu, which means ``search fox,'' Google has no Chinese name. Many Chinese Internet users ``don't even know Google, especially in small towns,'' Guo said.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 657 posted 3:00 pm on Jun 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I like Choogle - the ads can have CCR's "Keep on Chooglin'" in the background.


WebmasterWorld Administrator bill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 657 posted 1:04 am on Jun 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think Woz had told us once about how all the brand names in China like Coke and McDonalds all have Chinese names with different meanings. Translated some of them are quite amusing. Google is going to have to choose something to market their name with, but I don't think they can just choose anything. Maybe one of our Chinese members could tell us how you go about determining the Chinese foreign company names.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 657 posted 3:39 am on Jun 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

i have seen some people translated Google into chinese as "cool dog" on chinese forum sites. but i think google probably wouldnt adopt that name as chinese dont have too much possitive perceptions with "something dog"...

Translating an English company name into Chinese is a bit challenging. basically there are two major solutions are quite popular:

1) phonic tranlation: to give each english pronounciation of the name a chinese character which sounds alike the most. but usually they dont mean a thing in chinese and can be hard to remember (it will easily end up with a chinese name with more than 4 or 5 charaters, while most chinese have a name of 3 charaters). eg, sony - "" the first character means "ask, demand, search" and the second one means "buddhist nun".

2) meaning tranlation: to translate meaning directly into chinese. this can be even harder given the grammar difference between english and chinese. something in enlish easily doesnt make sense to chiense audience at all(some name even doesnt exist in the chinese dictionary). also it easily generates very similar names.

3) combination of the first 2: this is the trend everybody else is following, that to grab the major phonic base of the english name and transplant them with chinese characters that convey the similar meaning of the business name. Coke was a good example: instead of using purely phonic translation which looks funny in chinese or purely meaning translation which sounds horrifying for drinks to chinese, the chinese name "" remains the similar sound for the first character but also introduces the second character that did not exist in the english name itself.

[edited by: Woz at 8:06 am (utc) on June 10, 2004]
[edit reason] no promos please, see TOS#13 [/edit]


WebmasterWorld Senior Member woz us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 657 posted 8:16 am on Jun 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

In English we would say "this will set the cat amongst the pigeons", but in this case it may be more appropriate to say "this will set the tiger amongst the foxes." It certainly is a smart move on the part of Google to get a foot in the door economically, far easier to woo the approval of the powers that be if you are investing substantially in the country's online industry. I wonder though whether this will be a silent partner type investment or whether Google will take a more active role.

As to names, yes, one does have to be careful to avoid something like "You Beaut Wish You Were Here Search Company", but a skillfull translator will come up with something both phonically correct and inspiring as kent suggests. One awaits with cheese on tongue.



10+ Year Member

Msg#: 657 posted 7:20 am on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I very much welcomed this news article as we have around 15% of total traffic coming from Baidu.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 657 posted 4:10 am on Jun 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

That is really interesting.

First of all, Baidu is a totally copy of Google, or I would say steal Google's whole idea and put their own name on it. From day one, Baidu had it current looking which is obviously Google-style. I was surprised that Google can live with that without any action.

Something ago (maybe more that a year) I read some rumours saying that Google want to buy Baidu, but the proposal was rejected, because Baidu want to go public in US stock market just like a few other Chinese internet companies such as Sohu, Sina, Netease, etc.

Now Google is investing into it. Looks like Google REALLY want chinese market.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 657 posted 5:08 am on Jun 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Baidu runs a much stickier service than Google. Accroding to Alexa, each Google user contributes about 6 pages, while each Baidu user contributes nearly 9 pages.

Search engine has very low switching costs, the stickier the service is, the higher the barrier to entry.


WebmasterWorld Administrator bill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 657 posted 1:06 am on Jun 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some more details of this investment are leaking out slowly. Here's another article [siliconvalley.com].
Google's investment in Baidu does not include management, Li said.
``Google is a strategic investor. We don't have cooperation in operations at this stage,'' he said. ``We keep our independence in management. Google does not have a seat on our board.''

An interesting point:
Li denied that the fund-raising had brought in $10 million, as reported, but refused to give a figure.

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