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Search Engine Baidu Opens Window on China’s ‘Netizens’

The Beijing headquarters of China's leading Internet search engine company, Baidu (FILE).
The Beijing headquarters of China's leading Internet search engine company, Baidu (FILE).

The leading Internet search engine company in China, Baidu, is producing a new English language blog to offer a window on Chinese culture and society.

Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo said he came up with the idea for Baidu Beat as a way of providing insights on hot trends in China.

A recent posting listed the top questions asked by Baidu users in 2010. The top entry was "What should I do if my girlfriend refuses to marry me because I don’t have an apartment under my name?"

“That particular question is very illustrative,” Kuo said. “It is something very much on the minds of Chinese people. It gets to a fundamental problem here in Chinese society. There is, to a certain extent, a lot of materialism. Women, who say they are being very pragmatic, simply won’t marry a man unless he actually owns an automobile or his own apartment. It’s not a renter’s market on the romance market these days.”

In the United States, Google is the leading Internet search engine. But in China, with nearly 400 million Internet users, the search king is Baidu.

Asked if Baidu is planning an English language search that could compete with Google and others, Kuo said, “We would certainly not rule out the possibility of offering English search. But [the Baidu Beat blog] has nothing to do with that.”

He said they are writing the blog in English because it is the only sensible language to use if they are going to reach the global audience that follows China and Chinese society.

To compare some of the habits of American and Chinese Internet users, VOA looked at the lists of top “How to” searches for Google and Baidu last year. Take a look and give us your thoughts in the comment section.

Baidu - Top Chinese “How To” Searches of 2010:

1. List of top ten “How to” questions of 2010
2. How do I completely erase all of the data on my hard drive?
3. How can I break my addiction to DotA?
4. How to get food for the spring festival reunion dinner?
5. How to deal with sleezeballs?
6. How can I restrain my emotions for the girl I like?

Google - Top U.S. “How To” Searches in 2010:

1. How to draw
2. How to kiss
3. How to knit
4. How to meditate
5. How to dougie