Microsoft Bing has achieved unprecedented success in China, overtaking Baidu to become the largest desktop search engine in China. Fresh data from market research firm StatCounter reveals that in April 2023, Bing captured 37.4% of the market, surpassing Baidu by 10 percentile points..
Baidu's market share slipped to 27.01%, so it seems Bing's success came as a direct result of Baidu's decline. Following Bing and Baidu, the rankings are occupied by Sogou (16.36%), Yandex (7.45%), Haosou (6.25%), and Google (5.2%) respectively.
So, is China a pointer for things to come in the rest of the world or is this a market specific dominance? Well, the latter still seems more likely considering Google remains the big leader in global search on desktop and mobile.
Of course, Microsoft has recently launched Bing Chat, an AI search chatbot component of the wider search engine. Powered by OpenAI's GPT-4 and Microsoft's own AI technology, Bing Chat provides a natural response large language model (LLM) AI like ChatGPT into search. Google was caught off guard by the launch of Bing and rolled out its own Bard chatbot to mixed response.
Bing Chat Thriving in China Despite Global Trends
Bing Chat has been a success, but it is not clear that it has moved the needle for Bing to overtake Google as the dominant search player. According to a previous Statcounter report, Bing only managed to secure 7.14% of the desktop search market in April, while Google remained the undisputed leader with 86.71%. This might seem irrelevant since Google has always been the top choice for most users. However, Bing Chat was supposed to be a game-changer and lure more people to Microsoft.
But despite Microsoft's claim that Bing has over 100 million daily active users, the search engine is losing ground in the market. Bing Chat, the feature that allows you to chat with an AI bot, has not made Bing more appealing. Statcounter shows that Bing's peak market share was 9.92% in October 2022, before Bing Chat was introduced.
However, in April 2023, Bing's market share dropped to 7.14%, which is lower than the same month last year, when it had 8.05%. The situation is even worse when mobile and all devices are included. Bing has only 2.79% of the total market share, while Google is still dominating with 92.63%.
Baidu is Microsoft's nearest competitor in China and is looking to rival Bing Chat with its own AI chatbot for search. Baidu is a heavy investor in artificialy intelligence through its Ernie system. This is a scalable AI model that has been in development for years. Ernie provides the underpinning machine learning for the chatbot.