Feeds

Google Search and Maps take a pounding in China

Govt restrictions and local rivals undermine Android advantage

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

Google is sinking without a trace in China, according to market-watchers who now place it fourth in the domestic search market and claim its Maps service tumbled to sixth position after a near double figures percentage decline.

The Chocolate Factory was struggling for market share even before its well-publicised post-Operation Aurora spat with the Chinese authorities in 2010.

Local rival Baidu made the most of it when Google decided to re-locate its search servers to Hong Kong, outside the Great Firewall, and it has found the going tough ever since.

The web giant now sits a lowly fourth in the Chinese search market in both page views and unique visitors, with a little over 4.5 per cent, according to October stats from CNZZ (via Marbridge Daily).

Baidu is way out in front with around 73 per cent, with Chinese web firms Sogou (7.8 per cent) and Qihoo 360 (9.7 per cent) in between.

It is Qihoo’s rapid rise since it burst onto the search scene in the northern summer that has done most to hurt Google’s share.

The firm was a key partner for Google but then dropped the US giant from its hugely popular portal site hao.360.cn as the default search option and replaced it with its own so.360.cn service.

The decision to locate its datacentre outside China means Google searches from inside the Great Firewall can be inconsistent and unreliable, with users often presented with error messages – another reason to go with the local, albeit self-censoring, search service providers.

To improve the user experience it recently rolled out a Communist Party-baiting tool designed to alert users if a search keyword is likely to cause censorship, and therefore connection, issues.

On the mobile mapping side, Q3 stats from Beijing-based Analysys International saw Google Maps tumble from second to sixth place, dropping from a share of 17.5 per cent to just 9 per cent.

Apple’s decision to drop Google Maps from iOS6 in favour of its own client can’t have helped matters.

The mapping market could get even tougher for Google in the near future thanks to strict new proposed regulations and the imminent arrival of yet more local competition.

The authorities recently announced proposals which would increase fines for providers failing to include territorial outposts on their maps, and mandate that all online map providers locate their datacentres within China.

Meanwhile, reports have emerged that local web giants Baidu, Tencent and others are currently developing their own rival mapping services.

Given Android’s huge success in China – it accounts for over 70 per cent of the market according to Analysys – it’s somewhat ironic that Google isn’t able to capitalise better in promoting its services.

However, it is Chinese web service providers that are gaining the most from the OS, with local OEM's often pre-installing their offerings on handsets in favour of Google's.

This has given the web giant no option in the short term but to try and contain Android’s Chinese forks, such as Alibaba’s Aliyun, according to a recent Ovum report.

“The Maps issue is an extension of Google's broader problems in China,” Ovum analyst Shiv Putcha told The Reg. “They are unable to get the foothold they have in other markets since Android isn't working the way it should for them in China. In fact, Android is helping the local ecosystem but not Google.”

Gartner analyst Sandy Shen added that Google simply hasn't been committed enough to China in the past.

"By contrast, many local vendors focus solely on China, and have made continuous investments in product development, partnerships, distribution and promotions. So it is no surprise that Google keeps declining," she told El Reg. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.