Yesterday Hitwise released their latest data showing that Google has captured nearly 73% of search volume in the US. However, in China the big dog is Baidu. So if your business is looking to tap the Chinese consumer market for international sales, you might want to consider doing PPC with Baidu.
The first and most important thing to realize with Baidu is that there is no English interface for the site or PPC. If you want to do your PPC in English I recommend sticking with Google. Second, though Baidu looks eerily like a Google clone, they are still behind on the behind-the-scenes processes that make Google so easy to use. You can’t upload changes via CSV or even copy/paste. All changes must be made manually. This will really slow you down, but Baidu is very generous with support is one-to-one. Every advertiser has an account rep to help with bidding, setup, etc. (too bad Google doesn’t do that). Bidding is done in RMB.
For me the jury is still out on Baidu. I know the search engine catches a lot of flak for the amount of pirated content they serve in their results (it is China after all) and working only in Chinese makes it difficult for a lot of potential advertisers. However, with the size of the Chinese market and the dominant position Baidu occupies I will continue to investigate. Do I have any Baidu users reading today? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.