Tuesday, February 19, 2008

SES London - Cash in China; Mobile in Japan

Boy, search is complex in Asia.

In Japan keyword choice is made that bit more difficult in that the same word will have multiple spellings.

Venice, for example, has six well used versions so you need to make some informed decisions on which version(s) you use on your site.

Japan has a different no 1 SE - Yahoo with 47 million users per month to Google’s 27 and Rakuten's 27.

The number 1 social network is not MySpace or Facebook but Mixi with 17 million users.

But probably the most intriguing fact is that more people in Japan now access the
internet via mobile then PC.

But China, forecast to overtake the US in internet users this year, really takes the biscuit (I would say Fortune Cookie but apparently these don't exist in China and are actually made in Mexico).

China search is dominated by Baidu.

This is very different from Google, not least in that paid inclusions sit at the top of the 'natural results' yet 90% of users don't realise they're paid for.

On the subject of paying most Chinese still prefer to pay in cash.

Particularly in travel with 60% of online transactions on C-Trip (the Chinese 'equiv' of Expedia) involving cash on demand that involves a man on a moped arriving at the online buyers doorstep, getting the cash then handing over the tickets.

This will change as credit cards are growing but, in the meantime, this is a stark example of just how different internet business really is in China.

Matt Brocklehurst, marketing director, Latitude Group

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