Chinese search engine giant Baidu said its search app saw overwhelming growth in 2014. Search queries for local lifestyle and services, restaurants, education and training, and news were key growth drivers. The Beijing-based company expects the trend to continue in 2015. Baidu has released the the China Mobile Website Trend Report, which shows that most of the search queries made using Baidu’s mobile app were for local services.
Baidu has 136 million active mobile users
According to statistics from Analysys International, Baidu remains the top mobile search engine in China with over 136 million monthly active users in December. It has about 80% share in China’s mobile search market. Li Dongmin, senior director for mobile search at Baidu, said mobile search requests on Baidu continue to increase despite slowing growth in the number of active smartphone users in the country.
Li added that the number of mobile websites included in Baidu’s search figures soared 105% YoY in 2014. The number of search queries on online education skyrocketed 191% last year, reports the state-run China News Service. Search requests for movie tickets soared 194%, while queries for local lifestyle and services increased 142%.
Baidu receiving more voice- and picture-based search requests
Analysys International analyst Pang Yiming said rising demand for local information means more appetite for Baidu’s search app. Of course, there are specialty apps that offer users quick and easy access to find the perfect services or restaurants based on their location. But not every smartphone user likes downloading and installing various apps. Chinese users find it much easier to find whatever they want using Baidu’s app.
The China Mobile Website Trend Report showed that picture-based and voice-based search requests are growing in popularity. However, Nomura analysts Chao Wang, Liz Guan and Flora Lam recently said in a research note that they see limited upside potential in the near-term in Baidu. Growing contribution of mobile could slightly affect its revenue.
Baidu shares fell 0.20% to $229.43 in pre-market trading Friday.