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Local Digital Competition for the Giants of Silicon Valley

European Search Manager, Alex gives us the rundown of global competition in the digital world.

During the past 10 years, we’ve seen incredible growth in the global digital economy. Alongside that, a distinct sense of globalisation with the tools and products we’re using being increasingly more available whether we’re in London or Lima.

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Google’s stranglehold over the digital world is becoming ever more apparent, as the search giants take on all comers in every area of the digital communication world. Whereas other spaces such as social (Facebook, Twitter), eCommerce (Ebay, Amazon) and video (YouTube) are dominated by one or two big global players.

There is however big differences in some parts of the world, where the Mighty Californians don’t have it all their own way and it makes a refreshing change.

In China, Google has just a 13% market share, where as Baidu the local engine claims +80%. It’s founder claims to have been first into the search market, and that Baidu’s search algorithm predates Googles! However, it’s not just search that the Chinese prefer (or are encouraged) to do their own way. They also have a number of other local sites which mimic Western platforms but have their own vast audiences.

When it comes to online shopping, China’s biggest site is Taobao which draws vast similarities to Ebay. When users come to checking out, customers pay with Alipay, much like the world famous Paypal. Both of these are part of the massive Alibaba group.

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Incredibly Weibo a social network with similarities to Facebook, has 500m users which is nearly as many users as the site it is based upon.

In both Russia and Japan, there are similar stories of local players having the upper hand in search.

It’s probably also worth pointing out to those in the UK that in the US, the Bing/ Yahoo partnership is a much more credible play with Google only around the 60% mark.

Closer to home in Germany, where Google has a pretty healthy market share (as it does in all of Western Europe, see chart), in pretty much every other digital space there are a bunch of copycat sites,  each tailored to the tastes of the German market.