Screenshot of So.com on Chinese National Day 

In August we reported that it took 5 days for 360 Search to be No.2 Largest Web Search Engine in China. One month later, the company launched an independent domain so.com, aiming at a “Safe, Fresh and Reliable” search engine.

“From a poll on Weibo, we are happy to see that over 40% of the respondents thought the domain so.com was brief and catchy. We love this domain as well because S stands for SAFE, and O stands for Open, which happens to be 360’s belief all along.” CEO Zhou Hongyi explained about the new name and pointed out the company will keep on guarding net users from viruses and malicious sites, meanwhile will open up  to cooperate with more industry peers.

According to a 3rd party data, the whole business scale of Chinese search industry will surpass RMB 30billion in 2012, and Baidu still covers 80% market share. Search engines have become the most important entrance to Internet, but net users are not happy with the status quo. The whole market lacks healthy competition, current players lack social responsibilities, and the unfairness caused by interferences in searching results is getting worse…All these problems have made the search engines to be unreliable or even risky in users’ eyes.

As the biggest safe service provider in China, 360 (NYSE:QIHU) has kept on offering Internet safe products since founded in 2006. From  the Q2 financial report of 360, its PC active user base  has reached 425 million and that of smartphone  is about 120 million. President Qi Xiangdong revealed that, “Apart from our former safe portfolio, we will release a series of new products focusing on searching safety. We are dedicated to providing safe and reliable search results to our users.” Zhang Peng, the editor-in-chief of Business Value commented on the SAFE and OPEN characteristics of so.com, “On the one hand, the safe property of 360 stands itself out among other players; on the other hand, to emphasize on openness paves way for more support in this industry.”

Accordingly, the search team of 360 is well experienced in search area. This time so.com utilizes the 3rd generation search engine technology(Search 2.0) and launches a “Thumb Plan” in which users’ behaviors influence the results ranking. “This new rule implies a future trend of user-oriented searching, and thus the annoying spam sites can be avoided as well.” said insider Qu Xiaodong said that, “With its huge user base, the success of the ‘Thumb Plan’ seems very promising.”