On the Rise: The Search Market Landscape in Asia

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The search engine market in Asia is as diverse as the cultures and languages found in the region. Most of the attention on search engine marketing in Asia focuses on China and the 162 million Internet users there. Companies that want to engage the Asian search engine market should also consider the additional 297 million users in the other countries in the region. Countries such as Korea and Japan have high Internet usage penetration rates and more mature search markets, while China and Japan’s penetration rate is significantly lower and they have a lot of room for growth in the search arena.

No single search engine leads the pack, although Google enjoys success in much of the region. Besides Yahoo!, the two search engines that compete with Google in local markets are Baidu – the market leader in China – and Naver in Korea. Baidu is also entering other markets in the region, such as Japan. Naver is a very successful search engine in Korea where Google languishes in sixth position (based on market share).

According to a recent survey (qSearch 2.0), in August 2007 there were 61 billion individual searches by 754 million searchers worldwide, an average of more than 80 searches per searcher. The monthly survey, created by Internet tracking firm comScore, includes data that represents the top 50 Internet properties in the world where search activity is conducted. Google and Yahoo! led the pack, with Baidu (China) third and Microsoft a distant fourth. The Korean search engine Naver was a close fifth to Microsoft and somewhat surprisingly, eBay was in sixth place. Here are the figures:

August 2007 Searches Worldwide by Search Engine

Google             37.0 billion

Yahoo!             8.5 billion

Baidu               3.3 billion

Microsoft         2.2 billion

Naver               2.0 billion

eBay                1.3 billion

Of those 754 million searchers, 258 million are located in Asia. In addition, 2 of the top 5 Internet search properties are in Asia (Baidu and Naver). Clearly, Internet users who live in Asia are incredibly active searchers, even though the current Internet penetration in Asia is only 12.4% compared with a 27.4% Internet penetration in the rest of the world (Internet World Stats). The comScore data shows North America with just 206 million searchers, less than Asia.

Here is a breakdown of Internet use by country in the Asian market:

China

Internet Users – 162 million

Penetration Rate – 12.7%

Search Engines – Baidu, Google, and Yahoo

Japan

Internet Users – 87 million

Penetration Rate – 68%

Search Engines – Yahoo!, Google, MSN

India

Internet Users – 60 million

Penetration Rate – 5.3%

Search Engines – Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Alta Vista, Lycos

Korea

Internet Users – 34 million

Penetration Rate – 66.5%

Search Engines – Naver, Daum, Yahoo!, Empas, Nate, Google

Indonesia

Internet Users – 20 million

Penetration Rate – 8.9%

Malaysia

Internet Users – 15 million

Penetration Rate – 52.7%

Search Engines – Yahoo!, Google, Baidu

Taiwan

Internet Users – 14.5 million

Penetration Rate – 63%

Search Engines – Yahoo!, Google

Philippines

Internet Users – 14 million

Penetration Rate – 16%

Search Engines – Yahoo!, Google

Even though Internet usage in Asia has grown at an impressive rate of 302% over the past 7 years, there is still plenty of room for growth. Consequently, search engines are working hard to establish themselves as leaders in their respective markets.

About the Author

David Temple is the regional head of search at Neo@Ogilvy Asia Pacific. He is a regional editor at Multilingual-Search.com and blogs about sem training at SEMScholar.com. David is a frequent speaker at industry events including, ad:tech, SES, SMX and IMMA.

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