Baike 101: The Search Engine Sector Market Leader

WHAT IS BAIKE?

While “Baike” in Chinese literally translates to encyclopedia, it is most commonly understood in China as their “Wikipedia”. Launched in 2006, Baidu Baike is an online collaborative Chinese encyclopedia that has over 16 million entries written by more than 6.9 million users as of October 2019. Unlike Wikipedia, Baidu Baike adopts a for-profit business model.

THE SEARCH ENGINE SCENE: WHO TO LOOK OUT FOR?

Baidu Baike is not the only player in the online collaborative Chinese encyclopedia scene. There are three key players namely:

1.     Baidu Baike (baike.baidu.com): 130 million page views per day

Baidu Baike is owned and produced by China’s largest search engine Baidu. Naturally, Baidu Baike’s entries will be featured more prominently on Baidu search engine results page (SERP). According to krASIA, Baidu still leads in the search engine sector with a market share of about 77 per cent. 

For instance, when you search for ‘McDonalds’ on Baidu, you will be able to see the brand’s Baidu Baike page emerging as the top search result right after its official webpage on the SERP.

It is common for a brand’s Baike page to emerge right below its official webpage on SERP.

2.     Toutiao Baike (previously Hudong Baike): 8.6 million daily page views

Baike.com was acquired by Chinese internet behemoth ByteDance in 2019. It is ByteDance’s ambitious attempt to compete with Baidu on China’s online search market. Bytedance also owns Jinri Toutiao, a content aggregator and standalone search site and provides Jinri Toutiao users with encyclopedic content from Baike.com. Essentially, both Baidu Baike and Toutiao Baike enclose online search traffic within their own separate ecosystems.

3.     Wikipedia China

Wikipedia China is largely edited and read primarily by users in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the rest of the Chinese diaspora. This is due to the fact that Wikipedia China does not practice censorship in accordance to Chinese government regulations resulting in limited access by Chinese users. 

According to Technode, all non-Chinese versions of Wikipedia have been blocked in China since April 2019, and the Chinese language edition has been blocked since 2016; hence, it is common for the Chinese audience to gravitate towards more accessible sites such as Baidu Baike and Toutiao Baike. 

WHY YOU NEED BAIKE FOR DOING BUSINESS IN CHINA?

1. Strengthen your brand: Creating a Baike page is key to blaze through organic search rankings and strengthen your brand presence in China. With a Baike page, your brand will instantly appear at the top of the Baidu or Toutiao search engine results page respectively for branded keyword searches. 

2. Establish credibility: Users are more likely to trust results from Baidu Baike and Toutiao Baike; just like how global users trust Wikipedia. 

3. Lower maintenance with huge benefits: Unlike household Chinese social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo or even Douyin, where users expect content creators to update constantly on these platforms, users are more forgiving when it comes to Baike content. In a similar vein, imagine a Twitter account that was last updated two months ago versus a Wikipedia page updated within the same timeframe, which has a larger impact on users’ perceptions on how active a brand is? A Baike page requires “lower maintenance” as opposed to other marketing platforms and should be one of your top go-to strategies, especially if the business priority is building up a strong and reliable branding in the Chinese market.

We hope that this article is useful in letting you understand more about Baike. Please feel free to contact us at 86insider@86links.com if you would like us to cover specific topics. Here is another good read on the art of keeping in touch via WeChat and why you will need it to do business in China.