Internet in China, A Closer Look
Ryan Buddenhagen, January 18, 2012
China's online potential has been mounting for some time, but in recent years it has been fully realized. Much has been written about China's censorship of the internet, and the implications that it has on companies trying to operate in the country, and more recently, experts have been noticing a potential repositioning by Google on their China stance. All this is relevant because of the tremendous potential of the internet in the country. Thus, it is worth then taking a closer look and letting the potential for international SEO and other online marketing services in the country sink in.
The amount of Chinese internet users continues to grow along with the amount of Chinese money tied to the internet, and if local creation is any indicator of interest and potential, just about all of the top 20 websites in terms of unique visits are home-grown Chinese web properties. Specifically, the country boasts an internet audience of 400 million and, according to iResearch, reached an internet market size of 71.6 billion Yuan in Q3 of 2011, which is up over 20% from Q3 in 2010. Needless to say, the country's internet market is experiencing healthy growth.
Like much of the rest of the world, their mobile internet market is also growing. Mobile internet accounted for just over 15% of the whole internet market in Q3 of 2011, up from 10.5% in the same period a year earlier. With substantially more mobile subscribers than current internet users, the gap between the two can be bridged in the years to come as more mobile subscribers will likely use the internet on their phones. The presence of mobile internet increases the opportunities for marketing professionals and SEO firms looking to offer optimization services.
However, what may stand as the most enticing statistic to internet marketers is the recent upward trend in the market share that e-commerce holds in the Chinese internet market. In Q1 of 2010, e-commerce held 28.5% market share and that increased to 41.7% in Q2 of 2011. E-commerce is more important to Chinese consumers than ever before. Further, all of these companies that are selling products and services online can benefit from search engine optimization efforts, as well as pay per click management and other marketing campaigns to target their audience for more traffic. Many companies must already engage in such optimization, however, there surely many remain that could benefit from it.