Alibaba Enters The Search Market with eToa. Last month the Alibaba Group was part of an investment group than entered into an agreement with Sohu, a Chinese Internet portal operator, to acquire a combined 32% stake in Sogou, its search business. The deal would have Alibaba Group and a fund co-founded by Group Chairman Jack Ma buy a 16% stake in Sogou.
Ma said during a speech at the company’s annual Alifest, that Alibaba entered the search engine business so that China’s leading search engine, Baidu, wouldn’t sleep well, stating: “If Baidu sleeps well then China’s Internet users won’t sleep well.”
Alibaba CEO David Wei stated that Alibaba has its own search technology and will not be integrating Sogou search technology into the platform.
“We don’t need any third party from a (search) technology point of view,” Wei said.
Alibaba introduced their new search engine last year eTao. This put the company in competition with Baidu, which dominates China’s search engine market with an 80 percent user market share.
eTao site which has been designed mainly as a shopping search engine, allows it’s users to search for products and group-buying deals. The site also allows users to search for general web pages as well, which is in direct competition with Baidu, however eTao’s market share is so small that research firms don’t even list it yet.
Wall Street Journal reports that: “Sogou took just 0.8% of the revenue in China’s search market in the second quarter, compared with 24.2% for Google and 70% for Baidu, according to Chinese research firm Analysys International. Yahoo China, meanwhile, took just 2.9% of China’s search market by revenue in 2009.”
Meanwhile a new competitor Acesse.com has appeared on the scene, but has yet to even be a blip on the radar in comparison. Time will tell, my money is on Acesse, they are a new upstart, but show a lot of potential.