Top Chinese search engines

What is the Best Chinese Search Engine for Marketers in 2024?

Last Updated on March 27, 2024

In today’s highly competitive business scene, SEM and SEO remain highly effective in attracting potential consumers in China. With many Chinese companies vying for the most efficient way to get their content on top of the search results, foreign brands must pay extra attention to how they handle the country’s distinct digital ecosystem.

China now has over 1.07 billion internet users, segmented by consumer groups with unique search behaviors. Some are even bypassing typical search engines, favoring specialized social media platforms to discover new products and services.

To save you time and resources, we’ve curated a list of relevant Chinese search engines. Learn how to leverage these platforms and cater to local user preferences.


The Current State of China’s Search Engine Market in 2024

Chinese internet users have overwhelming access to the digital space, with approximately 99.6% of them using mobile phones to search the web for products and services they intend to purchase.

The popularity of mobile search also comes with new trends powered by advanced AI technology, like voice searches. In fact, platforms like Alibaba and Bing have already been rolling out their platform’s voice recognition features in the past few years.

In 2024, Baidu remains the leading entity within the domestic search engine market. Despite the changes in the local digital space, there’s still a significant gap between the platform’s market share and that of its biggest competitors, like Bing and Sogou.


Leading search engines in China 2019-2024

Leading search engines in China 2019-2024 (Source: Statista)


Around 841.3 million local internet users still rely on default search engines to find general information and content from traditional websites. However, with the rise of social search, the cycle of product and content discovery in China’s online landscape is still set to change.

And while it’s true that popular search engines favor social media content, some of the biggest Chinese technology companies in the country, like Xiaohongshu, restrict their content exclusively within their ecosystem.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss the importance of these respective search engines and how they can improve your brand’s SEO strategy.


Can you still use Google in China?

While Google is the default search engine choice of many people worldwide, China is one of the few exceptions. Since 2014, the company has been banned from the Chinese search engine market, restricting local internet users from accessing it. This was China’s answer to the company’s unwillingness to follow the country’s censorship regulations.

If you want to search for something on Google, check your Gmail, or use other Google services in China, you will only be able to succeed with the help of a VPN.


Best Chinese search engines 2024


7 Most Popular Chinese Search Engines In China


1.    Baidu – China’s King of Search


Baidu logo


Baidu’s popularity compared to other popular search engines mainly stems from its superior ability to comprehend Chinese text. Since its results only prioritize simplified Chinese characters, Baidu focuses on and favors websites or web pages in the local language.

This Chinese search engine also sets itself apart with various unique features integrated into its search engine results page. These features, including various rich snippets, significantly enhance the user experience and pose challenges for achieving high rankings on Baidu.

If you want to use the most popular search engine in China for your SEO strategy, you must have a comprehensive understanding of how to optimize for this search giant.

A huge part of it is learning how to leverage Baidu’s other products. It includes Baidu Baike (an online encyclopedia), Baidu Zhidao (a question-and-answer platform), Wenku (a document-sharing platform), and Baidu Tieba (an online community forum), all of which are effective in building solid visibility in China’s largest search engine.

By harnessing these supplementary platforms, businesses can effectively increase their chances of success within the Baidu ecosystem.


How big is Baidu compared to Google?

While Baidu holds a market share of over 55% in the Chinese search engine landscape, Google remains the dominant force worldwide. Google’s reach extends beyond China and encompasses a vast user base across various countries.

However, since the Chinese government made Google inaccessible in China, Baidu had the opportunity to solidify its position and cater specifically to the needs of Chinese users.


Baidu Chinese search engine


How do I use the Baidu search engine?

Using the Baidu search engine is relatively straightforward, although the user interface and search experience may differ from other top search engines.


To use this Baidu, you may follow these steps:

  1. Open your preferred web browser and navigate to the Baidu homepage at
  2. On the Baidu homepage, you will find the search bar prominently displayed.
  3. Enter your search query or keywords into the search bar.
  4. Click on the “百度一下” (Baidu Search) button or press Enter to initiate the search.
  5. Baidu will display a list of search results relevant to your query.
  6. Search search results to find the most suitable information, Chinese websites, or resources.
  7. You can refine your search using advanced search filters or exploring specific categories on the Baidu search page.
  8. Additionally, Baidu offers specialized search services like images, news, video, and more. You can access these services by selecting the corresponding tabs or options on the Baidu homepage or results page.


2.    Shenma – The Mobile-First Search Engine

Shenma logo

Shenma has a lower market share than China’s most popular search engine options. However, over the years, the platform managed to position itself as a prominent player in the mobile search landscape.

In addition, it established a strong local foothold through a joint venture with UC Browser and Alibaba Shopping Properties.


With its mobile-centric approach and strategic partnerships, Shenma ingrained its services into the growing trend of mobile internet usage in China.


By aligning with the booming e-commerce market and providing targeted advertising opportunities, it offers businesses a valuable platform to reach and engage with an audience beyond Baidu.

As it further refines its offerings and expands its user base, it is poised to play a significant role in the landscape and shape the future of search engine marketing in China.


Shenma Chinese search engine


How does Shema Mobile Search work?

Shenma’s strategy bridges the gap between traditional search engine marketing and e-commerce platforms. It has evolved into a search engine catering to users’ needs for shopping, apps, and books.

The platform features advertisements that are predominantly focused on promoting products and apps. As Shenma continues to develop rapidly, it holds tremendous potential to become a reliable and effective marketing tool for businesses.


3.    Sogou – Search Engine for Tencent’s QQ Web Browsers


Sogou Weixin logo


As one of the top search engines in China, Sogou sets itself apart with its distinct algorithm, which differs significantly from its main competitor, Baidu.

In 2020, Tencent acquired Sogou. This strategic partnership grants Sogou exclusive access to WeChat’s vast user base of 1.3 billion individuals and a sizable market share. As a result, the platform now holds a unique position in the market, leveraging WeChat’s immense audience reach and user-generated content.


Sogou weixin Chinese search engine


What sets the Sogou browser apart from other Chinese search engines?

Unlike the largest search engines in China, Sogou has positioned itself uniquely by venturing into artificial intelligence and voice recognition.

The platform launched these features with a high accuracy rate to translate Mandarin and English, enabling seamless communication and comprehension between users speaking different languages.

This breakthrough has broad implications for cross-cultural communication and convenience in search interactions.

Moreover, this engine’s Sogou Pinyin feature allows users to type Chinese characters using Roman letters. Because of this, the platform indexes websites and search results with better relevance and accuracy. It ensures that users are presented with search results that match their intent and expectations.


4.    Bing – China’s Second Largest Search Engine


Bing logo


Next to Baidu, Bing is the second largest search engine in China. In 2024, the platform holds more than 15% of the segment’s overall market share. Despite its apparent global popularity, it’s important to note that it’s serving around 32.9 million local users.

Bing also holds the top spot as the most used platform for desktop searches. It reportedly has over 37% of the market share in this category.


Bing – China’s Second Largest Search Engine


Despite not being a locally developed search engine, its algorithm works the same way as other domestic platforms. It values social media content in its SERP and puts more weight on the number of backlinks.

In its Chinese version, Bing prioritizes content published in Simplified Chinese and websites hosted domestically.


5.    Xiaohongshu – A Closed Search & Shopping Cycle


Xiaohongshu logo


Little Red Book is a hotspot for those searching for product reviews, travel advice, and lifestyle tips, making it a favorite among Chinese users for discovering and sharing insights.

With around 60% of its user base utilizing its in-app search function, it’s a powerful tool for reaching new and engaged audiences.


Xiaohongshu – A Closed Search & Shopping Cycle


What sets Xiaohongshu apart from others is its user-driven content. Unlike traditional search engines that rely on algorithms to deliver results, Xiaohongshu’s search capabilities cater to real, relatable user experiences and recommendations.

This approach not only makes search results more personalized but also more trustworthy, directly influencing purchasing decisions.


6.    WeChat Search – Bringing Search to Social

WeChat search logo

In 2017, this tech giant introduced a game-changing feature: WeChat Search. It provides an alternative to traditional methods utilized by different search engines, tailored specifically for social media search results.

This feature offers users a seamless way to search public accounts, moments, mini-programs, stickers, Tencent videos, and QQ music without going to a separate application.

Since WeChat mainly operates as a super app with a full ecosystem service, it’s worth noting that it connects with its audience in a more direct and one-on-one engagement than other search engine options in China.


WeChat search engine screenshots


How does WeChat Search work?

Although WeChat has the biggest online market share in the social media scene, its search functions aren’t as easy to navigate as other local search engines.


Here’s an overview of how it works:

  • Upon submitting the search query, WeChat presents a list of search results, including official accounts, moments (posts shared by users), mini-programs, stickers, Tencent videos, QQ music, and more.
  • Users can further refine their search results by using additional filters. You may narrow down results based on content type, date, popularity, or relevance.
  • Users can search for and use mini-programs that provide specific functionalities, such as e-commerce, gaming, utility services, and more, without leaving the WeChat app.


7.    Qihoo 360/Haosou – Highly Secure Chinese Search Engine

360 search logo

You may not know, but most Chinese computers available in the local market have Qihoo 360 (Haosou) as the only search engine installed in their system. This platform is known in the industry for its highly secure interface, protecting millions of monthly active users.

The key feature of Qihoo 360 Search+ lies in its advanced machine-learning technology, making it a full-text, third-generation search engine in China. This function enables the platform to learn continuously and ensures it can deliver the most relevant and tailored search results that users need.


360 Chinese search engine


While it’s not the most used search engine, Qihoo 360 Search provides users various search functionalities, including news, web, microblog, video, MP3, image, map, question-and-answer, shopping, and real-time information acquisition.

Your Trusted Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Partner In The Chinese Market!

Navigating the intricacies of the Chinese market requires a tailored approach to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaigns. To truly captivate the interest of Chinese consumers, it is essential to understand their unique preferences and avoid common pitfalls that could hinder the success of your campaign.

Don’t let the complexities of the search engine market hold you back! Our experienced team is here to guide you through every twist and turn, unlocking your brand’s full potential and ensuring resounding success in this dynamic landscape.


Sekkei Digital Group Services


We offer comprehensive services to empower your SEO & SEM strategies in China. From crafting compelling marketing campaigns to harnessing the power of SEO and social media, we provide the digital solutions you need to thrive.

Contact us now to embark on an exciting journey toward remarkable growth for your brand. The possibilities are endless – let’s make them a reality!


contact us SDG


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get our latest news

Scroll to Top