Why Bing's Travails in China Aren’t of Much Concern
Online trading brokerages have made stock trading quite accessible to everyone, but one thing you need to remember is not to get perturbed by headlines. Headlines often drive investor sentiment though not all them necessarily need to evoke any sudden action from traders.
Bing's Temporary Outage in China
What has made headlines recently is Microsoft's ($MSFT) Bing going through a rough ride in China, with yet another outage in the country that lasted two days. This was part of what the country's Cyberspace Administration claims as a crackdown on sites and apps that are "offensive".
Now this has understandably sparked concern among investors and observers about a situation where the search engine could be totally banned from the country. And that would mean losing the 800 million users China has, for whom Bing is the only truly international search engine currently available. That implies that a fertile ground for online ads among China's dynamic middle class is lost. But analyst Leo Sun of TMF SunLion wonders whether Microsoft's top execs are really worried about Bing’s travails in China.
Bing Already Didn't Have Significant Market Share
As it is, Bing's market share in China is hardly anything. Google's exit in 2010 should have provided a greater opportunity for Bing to dominate, but instead Baidu ($BIDU) took charge.
- Baidu has expanded to take over 70% of the country’s search market.
- Shemna by Alibaba ($BABA) has taken over 2nd, though with a significantly lower 16% share.
- Sogou and Haosou make 5% and 4% respectively.
- Bing has just 2%.
This 2% makes up 6% of the country's desktop searches and only below 1% of smartphone searches. The smartphone share is crucial, since more and more users are searching on smartphones. And Bing has already lost out in that crucial segment. So it doesn't seem that Microsoft will be losing much if Bing is booted out of the country.
Microsoft Tying up with Baidu for Edge Browser in China
More proof that Microsoft isn't much moved by Bing's struggles comes from the fact that it has made Bing competitor Baidu the default search engine and home page of Microsoft Edge in China. What Microsoft is really concerned with is securing the edge over Google, and it is willing to even tie up with its search engine's Chinese competitor to ensure Chinese users are more comfortable with Windows 10 and find it really useful.
We saw that in Russia too, where Microsoft has replaced Bing with Yandex ($YNDX) as the default search engine in the web browsers of Windows 10. So Microsoft has no qualms about booting Bing. What matters more for Microsoft is Windows 10. Leo Sun adds a bit of perspective to this - Windows 10 runs on more than 1.5 billion PCs globally while Bing makes up only 1% of the search market. Clearly, Bing is a lost cause.
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