Global Marketing News – 19th January 2016
Has Baidu been cheating users for profit?
The Chinese internet giant Baidu is coming under intense criticism from furious users following the revelation that the company has been profiting from giving incorrect or biased information to seriously ill users.
Baidu’s Tieba service allows users to join discussion groups and chat with other group members, with posts and comments being moderated by an administrator.
In recent days it has been revealed that Baidu has been selling administrator roles for illness-related discussion groups to commercial medical companies, some of which are unofficial or unqualified.
It came to light after one user complained that he had been removed as the administrator for a haemophilia group, and that he had been replaced by another user who was now promoting an unqualified hospital and removing negative comments posted by other users about the facility.
Baidu scrambled to save its reputation by announcing that it would no longer sell administrator roles for illness-related discussion groups to commercial entities, but it may be too little too late.
Tens of thousands of people in China have pledged to boycott Baidu, and the topic has attracted over a million views on the social network Weibo, with some users branding Baidu’s actions as “evil”.
This could be good news for Google, which is rumoured to be planning to re-enter the Chinese market.
Australians go ecommerce crazy for tickets
A study by Roy Morgan Research has revealed that tickets to shows, the cinema and events were the most popular items bought on ecommerce sites in Australia last year.
Travel tickets and accommodation were the second most popular items, followed by women’s clothing and books.
Australia is a mature ecommerce market, with a digital buyer penetration rate of 79%.
The Australian ecommerce market was worth 19 billion US dollars last year, with this figure expected to rise to almost 21 billion US dollars this year to account for 6.3% of all retail sales in the country.
Alibaba opens physical showroom for foreign brands targeting China
The Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba has opened a physical showroom where Chinese customers can view, sample and buy items from foreign retailers.
The showroom is 6,500 square feet in size and is located in the Tianjin Free Trade Zone. It contains over 1,000 of the most popular items sold by foreign retailers on Alibaba’s Tmall Global Platform.
Items stored in Chinese Free Trade Zones are not subjected to the tariffs that normally apply to foreign companies selling products to Chinese consumers.
China is a lucrative market for foreign retailers, with a population of over 1.3 billion and a wide held perception of Western brands in particular being higher quality than products made in China.
Alibaba is one of the most popular ecommerce sites in China.
Tanzania’s tourism board needs more money for marketing
Tanzania’s tourism board, the TTB, has said that it wants to engage in more international marketing activities but cannot afford to do so.
Tanzania attracted just over 1 million tourists last year, the majority of these coming from Africa. The TTB has said it wants to target more affluent markets, such as the US, the UK and Germany, in order to attract more visitors.
To do this, it says, it needs a significant boost in its funding. It currently receives around 2.3 million US dollars in funding from the Tanzanian government, however this needs to be increased threefold in order to run an effective international marketing campaign according to the TTB.
Tourism generates an estimated 2.2 billion US dollars for the Tanzanian economy every year.
Qwant and DuckDuckGo see user numbers explode
And finally, the privacy-focused search engines Qwant and DuckDuckGo have had a good year of user growth.
The number of people using the French search engine Qwant more than doubled last year, with over 7 million people using the search engine on a monthly basis at the end of the year.
DuckDuckGo also saw strong growth in 2015. It had 300 million monthly users by the end of the year, with a daily userbase of almost 11 million people.
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