Baidu, the dominant Chinese search engine which claims more than 70% of market share is facing imminent competition as Qihoo 360 and Tencent both lately showed their interests in stepping into search market, a fruitful territory.
Zhou Hongyi, Qihoo 360 CEO revealed in the conference call for third quarter financial results that the internet security company would make vigorous efforts to build its own search service as part of a drive to enhance revenue streams, expand revenue sources as well as better leverage their unique strength in its browser and personalized start page hao.360.cn.
Zhou said quoting 3rd party sources that Hao360 has overtaken Baidu’s hao123.com as the number 1 service of its kind, a personalized start page that aggregates the most visited Chinese websites. The service generated a lot of traffic for search engines, which makes Hao360 more like a upstream site for Baidu, Sogou and other Chinese web crawlers. And that’s when Qihoo realized that they could also take a bite from the search forefront.
According to Zhou, Qihoo will differ itself from other search payer in three key points. For starters, Qihoo won’t try to build another Baidu, they’re not doing a traditional search engine. Next up, Qihoo want to reinvent the search pattern by making the most value out of its personalized start page. Since they already accumulated tremendous data from hao.360.cn, they’re now capable of providing a personalized recommendation engine with which users can perform search without the need to type in any search keywords. That page knows you pretty well through your previous clicking behaviors and thus could suggest you with recommended links and related services you might want to check out – traditionally by type in keywords into search engine. And thirdly, Zhou said that Qihoo is working on something more like a vertical search engine.
This isn’t the first time Zhou and his team cast an eye on search market. He founded 3721.com, the first Chinese search engine which was sold to Yahoo!
Tencent SVP Li Haixiang also said lately that Soso, the search portfolio of Tencent would speed up and challenge Baidu from social and wireless aspects with more R&D investments in the years to come. The Shenzhen-based company will launch a Baidu Phoenix Nest like advertising platform in next month.
Youku, one of the most popular video site also suggesting that some of the big players give no chance to the true innovators in China market. After launching Qiyi.com, Baidu no longer features Youku contents in its video search service.
Youku launched its own video-centric vertical search couple months ago, and as of now the service has grown to be the second service of its kind.