Search Engine Strategies China

Search marketing in China is hot, and opportunities abound for companies operating within China as well as those hoping to reach out to the second largest internet user population in the world.

We recently wrapped up our first Search Engine Strategies conference in China, drawing more than 600 attendees to the Nanjing International Exhibition Center in the capital city of Jiangsu province. In addition to running several of our “core” sessions we also had a number of China and Asia-specific panels.

I’ll be publishing my own observations about China and the conference in the coming weeks. I’ve also asked several conference speakers to write reports for SearchDay. Leading off today we have David Temple, reporting on the “Vertical Search in China” panel, which really amounted to a session on mobile search.

Mobile Search in China

A special report from the Search Engine Strategies conference, March 17-18, 2006, Nanjing, China.

Matthew Snyder, GM, Nokia Search started the session speaking about how mobile search will evolve differently in China than in the rest of the world. “Search, Find, Connect” is their motto. As mobile devices become multimedia computers Nokia’s emphasis is on ease of use. Nokia spends a lot of time on user interface.

Although 80% of mobile users have browser capabilities on their mobile phones only 20% actually browse. There are several vertical markets that lend themselves to mobile search including; news, local, media, entertainment, shopping and education among others. Nokia plans to embed their partners in the phone so these vertical markets will be exploited. “We partner with the best locally” Snyder said emphasizing local search among those verticals.

Next up was Zhu Bo, CEO, Cgogo. He talked about the 400 million mobile phone users in China and that 50 million of those phones are WAP enabled. He also said that 3G standards are critical to the future market. Cgogo has attached great importance to wireless search. There are several obstacles that they face in wireless search including a small display format, limited capacity to access information, different search rules than that for the PC, and the fact that search engines must be supported by operators and the providers.

The user must be able to log on directly, bookmark sites efficiently and access their portal of choice. The overall market requires a lot of capital and technology. Spam is a critical issue in wireless search and that has to be taken into consideration.

A representative from mInfo said mobile search was not really a vertical market but a horizontal market. He agreed that the 3G standards were critical in the future wireless search market. He asked who in the audience is currently using mobile search and only 10% of the audience raised their hands. He predicted that in 10 years the number of wireless searches will surpass searches done on personal computers.

David Temple is Director of Sales at SmartSearch Marketing.

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