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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.
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 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.
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 - "Ë÷Äá" 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 "¿ÉÀÖ" 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]
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.
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.
Search engine has very low switching costs, the stickier the service is, the higher the barrier to entry.
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.''
Li denied that the fund-raising had brought in $10 million, as reported, but refused to give a figure.