White Paper: Search Engine Advertising in China

Foto Meng-Chih Vogt @ Webrepublic AG)

Meng-Chih Vogt

Meng-Chih Lee

With more than 640 million internet users, China has the largest internet population in the world. Baidu dominates the search engine market. Read this white paper and learn how we can help you leverage your success across the entire digital marketing chain and advise you on all things e-commerce in China.

White Paper: Search Engine Advertising in China

Opportunities and Challenges
in China


  • Access the world’s biggest market for ecommerce
  • Meet the high demand for online shopping and western brands
  • Track results with measurable and monitorable performance data
  • Benefit from high flexibility on media spend and targeting


  • Comparatively complicated administrative documents
    and procedures
  • Continuous protection of trademarks and monitoring of markets necessary to assure advantage and stay competitive

China, The World’s Biggest
Online Population

The Chinese online population has been growing at a staggering rate. Today, one in four internet users lives in China, which translates into an online population two and half times bigger than the United States.

China Internet Markets

China, The Largest Market
for E-Commerce

No wonder China is by far the world’s biggest market for ecommerce. In 2015, online sales totaled USD 672 billion from 320 million users – these users account for just 44% of the online population, so the potential for further growth is significant.

With the Chinese middle-class growing steadily, demand for high-quality foreign goods and prestigious brands is increasing. The opportunities for foreign brands in Chinese ecommerce seem almost limitless.


Search Engine Market Share Baidu

Search Engines China, Desktop vs. Mobile

Meet Baidu, The Google of China

Baidu is China’s most successful search engine. It processes 85% of all search queries on mobile and 60% on desktop, while Google accounts for only 2%. For 721 million Chinese users, Baidu handles more than 5 billion search queries a day; whereas Google only handles 3.5 billion worldwide.

Compared to other search engines, Baidu offers distinct advantages and specific features that raise brand awareness, increase online sales, and allow targeting of specific user groups for companies and brands entering the Chinese online market.

Find out more by visiting http://yingxiao.baidu.com.

Search Engine Advertising

To enter mainland China’s online market, search engine advertising with Baidu is essential. Baidu, China’s search engine giant, offers performance-based ad formats and search text ads that reach millions of users looking to shop. Be on the first search engine results page (SERP) when Chinese consumers search for your brand and products on Baidu. You only pay if consumers click on your ads (PPC).

Image Search Advertising

One single image speaks more than two lines of copy. Users search for images that inspire, explain and excite. On Baidu there are 800 million image searches per day on desktops and 1.5 billion on mobile devices.

A unique and powerful advertising format, ‘Baidu Image Search Ad’ reaches users that search via image only. By booking a set of keywords, a company can get its brand images into the first line of image results. Automotive brands like Honda, Chrysler and Haval are using this format to advertise their newest models to users searching for ‘cars’ on Baidu.

Brand Zone

Baidu WP, Brand Zone 1

Today, a strong brand is a key success factor for companies – it helps promote quality and credibility, and demonstrates the history and mission of companies. Chinese consumers’ affinity for trusted and prestigious brands is growing rapidly.

With Baidu’s ‘Brand Zone’ a brand can own the real estate above the fold on respective SERP. Brand Zones work and look like simplified versions of the brand’s regular website. By owning that space directly on the SERP, brands offer users a shortcut to the high-quality content they are actually interested in. User interest in Brand Zone pays dividends, reflected in the high click through rate (CTR) of 40-60%.

Miele’s Brand Zone Ad, for example, displays the most popular products on top of the search results, while on the right is a banner that promotes Miele’s latest sales, the store locator, as well as links to online shops.

Opening an Account

Opening an account with Baidu usually takes three to four weeks for non-Chinese companies. Companies do not need to be registered as a legal entity in China to open an advertiser account on Baidu; however, to prevent internet fraud, companies applying for an account are required to provide documents to prove they are real businesses.

These documents include (but are not necessarily limited to):

  • Business licenses
  • Passport copy of a business representative

Success Stories

A B2B company from the laboratory equipment industry wanted to increase its product’s visibility on Baidu. Webrepublic’s in-house Baidu expert helped the client set up and run a systematically structured account. Results exceeded expectations. After just eight weeks, campaigns running on Baidu created:

  • 200% more sessions
  • 270% more new users
  • 150% more contact form submissions

The Baidu campaign generated 73% of the traffic to its Chinese website.

Session Goal Completion, Graph Baidu

Your Chance

The Chinese online market accounts for 25% of the world’s online population and is still growing rapidly. Chinese consumers love prestigious brands and are very active online shoppers. Act now to promote your brand, enhance your visibility and maximize sales opportunities. Baidu offers unique and effective ad formats for companies wishing to increase brand awareness and boost online sales in China’s fast evolving online market place. 

Get Started

Do you want to conquer the Chinese market place before your competition? Get in touch with us. We will open your Baidu account, set up test campaigns, aggregate and analyze performance data, and conduct market analysis. Our certified Baidu experts are ready to help you write your success story in China.

About the author, Meng-Chih Vogt

Meng-Chih is a Consultant for Chinese Search Engine Advertising at Webrepublic. As of July 2016 she is the only officially Baidu certified SEM specialist in Switzerland.