I have a number of clients that are wanting to target Chinese in China on the search engines. I have therefore needed to know “what search engine do Chinese use”
If you go to google.cn, you get a page that when clicked on, goes to Google.com.hk.
Therefore pages geotargeted to Hong Kong would rank higher on that search engine.
But a website that I had SEO’ed and got ranking top ten on Google.com.au, google.co.nz and google.com (USA) being geotargeted to each country, was also ranked top of Google.com.hk with no geotargeting to that country.
So it is possible to rank well on Google.com.hk without specifically targeting to that country. A standard .com that is properly SEO’ed is possible to get ranking on Google.com.hk
In Hong Kong (data source no longer available on hitwise.com), Google.com.uk gets around 27% of the search traffic, with Google.com getting around the same at 27.06% and Yahoo getting only slightly less at 23.31%.
When in Hong Kong, as in many countries, when you try and search on Google.com, it redirects you to Google.com.hk (in as much as I have seen when using a Hong Kong proxy). You then are given the option in the bottom right corner to go to Google.com.
When you search, it still sees that you are accessing via a HK IP address. It shows HK targeted adwords. And there is a bias towards Tiawanese and HK sites. I saw this in a search for Touch Screen Kiosks where via a HK IP address, computers.com.tw was 8th, and only 22nd via Google.com as seen from New Zealand and not in the top 100 when seen from USA.
In China, over 80% of the search traffic goes via baidu.com or baidu.cn
And now baidu has partnered with Bing to provide English language services - but while that has been reported, I can not see what difference that partnership has made in the baidu search results.
And there is interesting comment about the Bing move as mentioned in Huffington Post 4 July 2011:
“Some analysts were skeptical over how much demand there would be for English search on Baidu.
“It’s a good thing, but I see very minimal impact for Baidu. I don’t see a lot English keywords going through Baidu. It goes through Google,” said Wallace Cheung, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Credit Suisse.”
Depending on the competition for a search phrase, it seems reasonable to try for Chinese English speaking traffic via Google.com.hk, being webpages geotargeted to Hong Kong.