Alibaba Diving in Search World Again

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba quietly unveiling its own search engine Aliyun Search recently. After his failure in 2005, Alibaba now matches to search world again. People start to wondering how much impact could it have on the industry leader Baidu and e-commerce in the country this time.

During the past decade, Baidu has been always sitting at the dominant seat of China's search engine market with its overwhelming 70% share, according to CNZZ. Despite the up-and-coming search players such as 360 search grabbing 10 percent of search traffic share in China, there are ten more other search engines struggle under the Baidu, fighting for the rest of the market share. Now, we have Aliyun.

Will Aliyun survive this battle? The answer is positive. China is forecast to surpass Japan as the world’s second largest B2C ecommerce market valued at $181 billion (U.S.) this year, according to eMarketer. The country already has the highest number of digital buyers worldwide with close to 220 million people buying goods online in 2012. That figure is estimated to grow to more than 270 million this year.

With Alibaba and Taodao's e-commerce tradition and strong e-business database supporting, doubtlessly Aliyun’s search engine would come in very handy for these burgeoning millions of users that will be researching various brands and products, which could potentially influence their buying decisions. This assures that Aliyun will have a chance in the paid search engine market.

If Alibaba takes Yahoo’s search algorithm and combines it with purchasing insights from Taobao and ETao to create Aliyun as a “best of breed” engine for searching, it will become a strong weapon to against other search engine supplier. In fact, Aliyun’s keyword suggestions do seems to be based on buying behavior with a strong ecommerce slant to its results.

For example, on a searching for Nokia, Aliyun’s SERP delivered links to product reviews on the Finnish handset brand in its top results. On the other hand, using the exact same keywords on Baidu showed Nokia has bought Brand Zone, an ad format featuring brand logo.

Although Aliyun will hardly impact the China's search market in the short term, as a SEO company, we should have attentions on Aliyun. It has the potentiality to become the default engine for online buyers to research products and services.

How is your suggestion to those overseas entities who plan to expand their business via China web?