China’s biggest search engine Baidu invests $US 470 million in online marketing
China is quickly catching up with its Western neighbours with the launch of a new program that aims to get more businesses online and up to date with the latest marketing techniques.
The country's main search engine Baidu – which went live in January 2000 – will spend up to a half-billion dollars to help entrepreneurs build their online presence and train more than 100,000 search marketing professionals.
NASDAQ and AMP report that Baidu will invest $US470 million or three billion yuan in the nation's online market between now and the end of 2015.
It is expected that this initial cash outlay will help about two million small and medium-sized businesses expand their commercial activities in the country.
According to NASDAQ the training programs are designed to improve "online service platforms, provide free marketing for less developed regions in China and help government departments in their research on business".
With the addition of search engine optimisation marketing techniques, as well as fresh content and new channels for communication, it is expected that brands will benefit from increases in online traffic and paid advertising.
Although China has more than 485 million internet users, it is still difficult for people in regional areas to access the internet – reducing the overall reach of many online campaigns.
Baidu is also the country's biggest search provider and according to iResearch it has a 77 per cent share of that market.
Pavel Khyakin, search engine manager of AMP, wrote on the agency's official blog that the news was interesting and showed China was serious about tackling SEO.
"It's pretty amazing how much the SEO industry has evolved over the years versus what it used to be at the very early stages," he said.
"What used to be an underground, rarely talked about approach to simply making websites rank higher in Google, has transformed to a whole new level of mainstream."
Posted by Aimee McBride