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Fastest Growth For Baidu, Second Place For Yandex & Google Is The Runner Up?

Last time, I was analysing the financial performance for the quarter of Google and demonstrated that internationally — excluding the UK — Google’s growth rate over last year was around 44%. We have now seen the same quarter’s figures from other major international search engines and we can conclude that Baidu’s growth rate in China tops the lot, followed by Yandex in Russia.

Even though Google’s rate of growth outside the US and UK exceeds the US by some 20%, it still seems significantly behind both the Chinese performance of Baidu at 85% growth over the same quarter in 2010 or Yandex’s 65% growth over the same period.

Of course, both Baidu and Yandex are helped by their market leading postions in growing economies. The IMF is forecasting 9.4% growth for China in 2011 and 4.2% for Russia. By comparison, the UK’s growth rate is expected to be 1.1% and the US a rattling 1.5%.

Google Baidu and Yandex Compared Financially

Google Baidu and Yandex Compared Financially

The chart above shows the relative revenues of Google versus Baidu and versus Yandex which gives us a great perspective on what we’re talking about. Although Google growth is less than the other two engines in percentage terms, in real dollars, it’s actually a much much bigger number.

Strong Growth Markets Help Baidu & Yandex

Additionally, looking at percentages is a little misleading when we consider that many of the economies where Google is successful, such as in western Europe, have very high penetrations of Google use and the scope for growth is much more limited.

Both Yandex and Baidu have all their operations in countries where Internet penetration is relatively low giving them great scope for advancement.

Google Baidu and Yandex Compared In Revenues As a Percentage Of The Total

Google Baidu and Yandex Compared In Revenues As a Percentage Of The Total

This second graphic above seems to suggest that Google is losing market share internationally. There is a grain of truth in drawing that conclusion – but it is a relatively small “grain”.

Firstly, Yandex only become a publicly quoted company this year giving us much more insight into the statistics relating to its performance and enabling us to include its figures on this chart.

However, what it does suggest is that Google is missing out on two key markets where the search engine market is growing rapidly meaning that both Yandex and Baidu are increasing their share of the global market — at least in dollar terms.

Stellar Performance From Baidu With Room To Grow

Baidu CEO Robin Li described the results as “stellar”. He also highlighted the fact that China’s search industry is still in its early stages and that Baidu has “Enormous room for continuing growth as users and online marketing customers become increasingly sophisticated.”

Mr. Li also pointed to three factors which had helped Baidu along in this quarter namely traffic growth, improved monetization from the Pheonix platform which drives the contextual ads and greater uptake of search advertising by large corporate advertisers.

The use of more sophisticated keyword matching for Pheonix Nest through something called “Advanced [quick] match” has been particularly successful at capturing user intent and generating strong click through rates.

Personalized Search Lands On Baidu’s Homepage

Robin Li has expressed particular satisfaction at the launch of the Baidu personalized homepage, which is not personalized search as we know it — but automated changes to the content shown on the initial homepage before the user even begins to search. This is based on search history, of course, and if a user has a history of searching for movies, for instance, then they will likely see a link on the homepage to local cinema times.

Turning to mobile, ironically, Baidu is now also the default search engine on over 80% of branded handsets in China that use the Android system — which just goes to show that Android dominance hasn’t so far been leading to greater search query shares for Google.

Yandex Says Hello To Turkey

For Yandex, this is only the second quarter where we have detailed financial information but CEO Arkady Volozh highlighted the market benefit, “While our markets are fluid and competitive by nature, they are large and are growing rapidly.” Yandex also made the first major investment in a new market with their launch in Turkey which will have had very little impact on the quarter’s figures.


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