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Is Baidu losing its crown in China?

Global marketing news – 31 July 2015

Is Baidu losing its crown in China?

The Chinese tech company Sohu has seen strong growth in the last quarter, while its main rival Baidu has seen a slump in profits.

Sohu’s revenues increased 8% compared to the last quarter, compared to Baidu’s 3% growth over the same time period.

Looking specifically at the company’s search engine Sogou, a spokesperson said: “In the second quarter, Sogou continued to see decent growth across all operating metrics. In particular, mobile search traffic jumped by more than 110% year-over-year and nearly caught up with PC traffic. Second-quarter revenues reached 147 million US dollars, up 62% year over year and 17% quarter-over-quarter.”

This is compared to Baidu, which has seen slower than expected growth of 3%. Baidu’s Chief Financial Officer has explained that profits have been offset by higher spending in areas such as its online-to-offline services.

Online-to-offline services are those which allow users to do a real-world activity online, such as taxi-hailing and ticket-booking apps.

Baidu has been investing heavily in online-to-offline services in response to the increasing proportion of Chinese users accessing the internet from a mobile device.

E-commerce apps gaining popularity in India

A study by Nielsen has revealed that e-commerce apps are increasing in popularity in India.

Looking at real-time data from 8,000 mobile users across the country, they found that the proportion who used e-commerce apps had increased from 21% last year to 54% this year.

This reflects the experiences of India’s main e-commerce companies, with Flipkart saying that 75% of its traffic came from its mobile app rather than its website.

The study also uncovered an increase in the number of people from smaller towns and cities using e-commerce apps. It cited the availability of the cash-on-delivery payment option as a factor that was encouraging more rural Indians to try mobile shopping.

Smartphone penetration is expected to explode in India in the next 5 years, with Ericsson Mobility predicting that the number of smartphone subscriptions in the country will increase from 130 million last year to a staggering 750 million by 2020.

Airbnb outlines African expansion plans

The home-rental giant Airbnb has said that it wants to expand in Africa.

Airbnb allows users to post ads for spare rooms or apartments, with guests and hosts being able to connect and rate each other after their stay.

The website currently has around 1.5 million listings, with users coming from 34,000 cities in 190 countries.

The number of Africans using Airbnb has increased significantly recently, with user numbers growing by 139% in the last year.

Airbnb’s CEO has said that he wants more African entrepreneurs to join the site to rent out their rooms or properties, a potentially lucrative extra income for many Africans.

He recently attended the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya in order to reach out to business-minded Africans, saying: “I’m thrilled to meet so many entrepreneurs here at GES who will build and grow this community throughout Africa.”

WhatsApp translated into Urdu

The social messaging app WhatsApp has been translated into Urdu and will soon be released on Android.

The app, which was translated by volunteers, is now completely localised in Urdu with its menu and settings all being translated.

Urdu is the official language of Pakistan and some areas of India and is spoken by an estimated 150 million people.

WhatsApp for Android is now available in 18 languages. It is not clear whether WhatsApp’s iOS and Windows versions will follow suit and release an Urdu version as well.

New Motorola smartphone in international launch

And finally, Motorola launched its new Moto G smartphone last week with events taking place across four different continents.

Events took place in New York, Sao Paulo, London and New Delhi, a clear indication that the smartphone is aimed at an international audience.

Smartphone penetration is increasing rapidly across the globe, with markets such as India (which expects to have 750 million smartphones in the next 5 years) showing particular promise.

Webcertain’s global marketing news bulletins are daily 5-minute videos, providing marketers with the latest international digital marketing news in an easy-to-digest format.

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Immanuel Simonsen

Research Manager at Webcertain
As the Research Manager of multilingual web marketing agency Webcertain, Immanuel heads up the company’s global market research activities and large content marketing projects. He is the author of several reports and guides, including ‘The Essential Guide to Rel-Alternate-Hreflang’ and ‘The Webcertain Global Search and Social Report 2013’. Apart from being a tutor at the International Marketing School -- teaching online marketing professionals on business opportunities around the globe -- Immanuel is a regular speaker at the International Search Summit, a leading event series dedicated to multilingual search and social media marketing.

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