There are quite a few search engines in each country’s internet market today. In the Chinese internet market, there are quite a few, but the most noticeable ones are these three: Baidu, Qihoo 360 Search, and Sogou with a 58.25%, 27.47%, and 12.97% market share in China, respectively.

A breakdown of the world most famous search engines

Baidu in US

  • Baidu

Baidu is the most popular and number one search engine in China. It was founded by Robin Li on January 18, 2000. Li worked at the IDD Information Services in New Jersey, where he developed and U.S. patented the RankDex site-scoring algorithm which was used for the page ranking of search engines. This algorithm is what he used for Baidu search engine. Baidu developed really fast in the past years that in 2012, Baidu is ranked as the 5th search engine in the world. As of July of this year, 2014, Baidu is ranked 2nd, with 19.11% in the global search engine market share, according to Netmarketshare.  Baidu is also the first in China to offer PDA-based mobile search.

 qihoo 360

  • Qihoo 360

Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd. or Qihoo 360 is the newest and now 2nd in the giant search engine market in China. Qihoo 360 actually started as an antivirus software company famous for products like 360 Safeguard or 360 Mobile Safe. Seeing as Google “left” China in 2010 and Baidu with no virtual competitor, Qihoo 360 believed for the opportunity of a new and different search engine. Since entering the search engine market in 2012, Qihoo 360 already overtook the 2nd position in the market beating up Baidu’s old-time rivals Sogou, Google China, and Tencent’s search engine service, Soso. At the end of 2012, it already holds 10.39% in the Chinese search engine market and by the end of 2013, Qihoo is already holding 22.49% while Baidu just continuously decreases. This has also driven Qihoo’s US stocks up.

Qihoo 360 also had a browser released in 2008 and according to iResearch, Qihoo 360’s browser now already holds around 69.6% internet users in China. Qihoo 360 is now targeting to hold a 35% market share by the end of 2014.


  • Sogou

Sogou Inc. is a Chinese search engine started by Inc. in 2004. Sogou, which literally means “search dog”, also has its own Sogou Input and Sogou browser.  Tencent Holdings Limited, the fourth largest internet company in the world holding the famous QQ messenger and smartphone app Wechat, invested $448 million for a minority share in Sogou in 2013.

Some business marketing in lower tier cities found Sogou to be very helpful as the cost is lower in the per click advertising or pay-per-click advertising on Sogou.

Western search engines in China


  • Google

Google is the leading search engine in the world with more than half of the world’s search engine market share in its territory. Although the censorship issues with led to its decline, can still be accessed in China, though with very slow connections or sometimes no input at all. This led Google to only hold 0.32% of the market share in China’s internet.


  • Bing

Bing is the famous search engine from the famous internet company, Microsoft. Bing now holds the 4th position in the global search engine market with holding 5.08% market share, and is the 4th in the Chinese search engine market as well, above Google by 0.47%, holding 0.79% market share.

Importance of search engines in China

China has more than 641.6 million internet users today, making it the biggest online market in the world. With these, businesses around the globe are attracted to the possible Chinese market and want to penetrate the Chinese web. We know that the target customers are on the search engines and above are the breakdown of the famous search engines in China. Which search engine SEO and SEM are you interested to attack then? Probably Baidu for now

Further readings

  • If you want to know more about SEO go take a look at this
  • If you want to know more about our latest news about China search engine world go here