If Google does shut down operations and withdraws its services from China following apparent hacking attacks on its computer systems, this will leave Microsoft, Yahoo and Baidu as the reigning search engines, says a UK analyst at the Greenlight marketing agency.
“Without Google, assuming Yahoo and Bing remain, that 30pc share will re-distribute,” said Warren Cowan, CEO at Greenlight.
He added that much of this 30pc of the search market would most likely go to Chinese search engine Baidu, saying that this could “further cement its leadership position” with the remainder possibly not split equally among Bing and Yahoo users, thus further upsetting “the balance of power for one or the other, and means growing in the Chinese market is likely to make it very difficult for at least one of them”.
Cowan added that for advertisers looking to target the Chinese market, the knock-on effect of Google leaving could mean a greater dependency on foreign operators who are less familiar to them, and less integrated with their ad operations.
Meanwhile, analysts are saying that while a withdrawal from the Chinese market may not have any impact on its revenue for now, it could very much impact long-term growth, as China is the world’s largest internet market with 338 million web users in June 2009.
By Marie Boran
Photo: Google is considering pulling out of China over cyber attacks on its users