Sogou Unveils Strategy to Steal Baidu Market Share


Wang Xiaochuan, CEO of Chinese Internet firm Sohu's (Nasdaq: SOHU) Sogou search engine, said recently that to increase space for Sogou's development and attract away more or rival Baidu's (Nasdaq: BIDU) users, Sogou will pursue a model of "client ports and pan-search," rather than attempting to compete head-on with Baidu.

Wang defined "pan-search" as being guided by users' needs and precision targeting of user traffic, rather than being limited to a keyword-based search model like Baidu's. Sogou faces a key moment in its development, Wang said, and now employs a team of 1,000 people, giving the company the manpower needed to expand its deployment on mobile terminals. Sogou is also at work on a platform-level product incorporating social relationships, and its "pan-search" strategy is gradually becoming clear.

Wang noted that Baidu is strong in search, but weak on the client software side. Chinese online software developer Qihoo 360 (Nasdaq: QIHU) is strong on the client side, but "lacks tenacity," and does not have the perseverance necessary to engage in search. Sogou's strategy, formed by these observations, is: to go all-in, to create products with multiple 'ports,' analyzing user input habits at these ports and categorizing them based upon this, then directing user traffic precisely to various distributed applications which it will use to commercialize its service.

Wang noted that Sogou search does not currently exert a great influence on user traffic, and expressed the hope that it would achieve a 15% domestic market share next year.

"Profitability is still not Sogou's goal at this stage," Wang said. "Naturally, our initial investment is not large, and we won't be able to burn money too quickly. So far as an IPO goes, it will be the natural result if conditions next year are suitable."


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