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The most popular search engines across APAC

Search engine market share
across APAC

Google may be the most popular search engine in the West, but it’s not the same in other parts of the world. In particular, the dominant search engines in the APAC region vary widely depending on the nation.

First, let’s explore the general market share. As of August 2023, Google has over 90% of the market share across APAC, followed by Baidu at 2.36% and Yahoo! at 1.03%. However, this does not give us the whole picture, as usage varies from country to country. 

Let’s zoom in and look at the top search engines among the APAC countries with the most active internet users: China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. 


China

China’s search engine market share is likely the most different from Western nations like the UK or the US, where Google is the most popular.

In China, however, Google does not even come close to the top by market share as it is banned nationwide. 

Source: pixabay.com

As of August 2023, the top search engines are Baidu (61.62%),  Bing (17.09%), Haosou (9.14%), and Sogou (4.9%). Google comes in 5th place, with just 1.93% of market share

 

Baidu has about 677 million monthly active users, making it the most popular search engine in China.

 

Most of its audience is Chinese, with a small percentage of users coming from Japan and the US. Second up is Sogou, which holds only about 7% of the market share. It is vital in voice-activated searches, processing up to 802 million voice requests a day from its mobile app. 

Haosou’s market share has been falling for some years but is recommended by many companies due to its cybersecurity features, making it an excellent channel for B2B marketing. Its parent company is Qihoo 360, one of the largest antivirus companies in China.   


South Asia:
India, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines 

The market share across India, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines has quite a bit of crossover.  

In India, Google takes up 98.5% of the market share, followed by Bing with 0.96% and Yahoo! with 0.3%. It’s a similar story in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Google has over 94% of the market share in Indonesia, over 98% in Thailand, and over 95% in the Philippines.

Both Yahoo! and Bing have less than 1% of the market share in Indonesia and Thailand. They do better in the Philippines, where Bing has 2.74% and Yahoo! has 1.66% of the market share. 

 

Bing, owned by Microsoft, has the same basic SEO best practices as Google. Although the overall SEO strategy will remain the same across the two platforms, there are some key differences.

 

For example, Bing focuses more on precise keywords (rather than contextual keywords), prioritises websites with multimedia (e.g. photos and videos), and rewards websites with a solid social media presence. 

In terms of paid advertising, although they function similarly, the features of Bing ads are unique to Google’s. Bing has different targeting filters, demographics, and its ads appear higher on the search results (due to fewer users).


Japan 

While Google is still the most dominant search engine in Japan, the market share looks a little different from the other countries on this list. 

As of August 2023, the search engine market share in Japan is split 75.34% for Google, 13.83% for Yahoo! JAPAN, and 9.8% for Bing.

However, like Bing, Yahoo! JAPAN’s search algorithm is similar to Google’s, so you do not need to learn two different SEO strategies to succeed on either platform. 

Source: pixabay.com

Yahoo! JAPAN is a SoftBank subsidiary that successfully localised and integrated its services into the Japanese market.
It is important to note that Yahoo Inc. differs from Yahoo! JAPAN.
With over 100 services, ranging from Yahoo! JAPAN News, Yahoo! JAPAN Shopping to Paypay, most Japanese internet users interact with a Yahoo! JAPAN service every day.

Regarding PPC ads across Yahoo! JAPAN and Google, the features and uses differ across the two platforms, so it is best to familiarise yourself with both and compare.

Read our article on Google vs Yahoo! JAPAN ads to learn more →


Taiwan

As of August 2023, Google takes 91.69% of the market share in Taiwan. Yahoo! and Bing trail behind with 5.68% and 2.42% of the share, respectively. Baidu has a small piece of the pie, with 0.05% of the market share. 

When creating SEO/SEM campaigns targeting Taiwan, Google should be the priority. However, it may be worth also doing some marketing on Yahoo! or Bing, depending on your goals.

It should also be noted that although Taiwanese people speak Mandarin Chinese, they use traditional Chinese characters instead of the simplified Chinese used in much of China. They also use different vocabulary and dialects; thus, the two markets should be treated differently when crafting marketing campaigns. 


South Korea

While Google is still the most popular search engine in South Korea, with over 63.37% of the market share as of August 2023, Naver comes in second with over 31.27%. Bing holds 3.57%, and Daum has just over 1% of the market share. 

Let’s explore Naver and Daum, as these are unique to the South Korean market. 

First, Naver’s search engine results page (SERP) looks very different from Google’s.

It is split into different sections, such as Knowledge iN (Q&A section), blogs, websites, news, advertisements, and more.

Fully optimised websites can appear in multiple places within the different sections. Ultimately, the SERP changes depending on the query. It sometimes includes a Cafe, videos, or books section, but the layout will change depending on each search. 

Naver also has its payment system, Naver Pay, and a search advertising platform, Naver Ad. Their advertising platform has different languages and location targeting, character limits, match types, placements, ad extensions, bid suggestions, and keyword tools than Google Ads. 

Given Naver’s stronghold on the South Korean market, it is essential to adopt your SEO/SEM strategy for Naver when developing marketing campaigns for South Korea.

Daum is owned by Kakao Group, the company behind South Korea’s popular messaging app Kakaotalk. It offers similar services to Naver. Their ad platforms also have similar features, with some variation regarding character count limitations and ad extensions. 


Search engine marketing across Asia 

As the data shows, Google is still the dominant search engine across most markets, with China being the exception.

Thus, you must familiarise yourself with Google’s algorithm and search ads strategy to perform well on the platform. It may also be a good idea to advertise or optimise your content for other search engines, such as Bing, Baidu, Yahoo!, and Naver, depending on the market you are targeting. 

No matter which search engine you choose to focus on. However, it is essential to ensure that you localise your PPC ads and website appropriately. Proper localisation can lead to increased trust with your audience and online conversions.


Want to learn more?

Here are a few articles you may find interesting:

 ⋅ How to improve your CTR for Yahoo! JAPAN →
 ⋅ How to set you PPC advertising budget to maximise results →


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