The Top 5 Chinese Search Engines And How They Work

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It is a well-known fact that the government censors Internet usage in China, and every year the list of blocked websites grows. In such a scenario, popular search engines like Google and Bing refuse to operate a government-censored platform in the country. Let’s check out the top 5 Chinese search engines here.

However, China has alternatives to Google. If you are looking to spread your business into China, you would want to understand how e-commerce works in China

Understanding how Chinese search engines work would be an excellent first step to understanding the buying process of Chinese customers.

In this post, we will look at the top 5 Chinese search engines and see how they work.


It is the most commonly used search engine in China, with a market share of 75%. Baidu is like the Google of China because both platforms are similar regarding organization and results. 


They both have search results pages and a page for similar websites. Both platforms also feature paid ads and campaigns.

However, there are also a few differences between Google and Baidu. For example, SEO for Baidu is different because:

  • It will only index a Mandarin/Chinese website.
  • You can pay to improve your website’s ranking.
  • You need an Internet Content Provider License to host a website in China.
  • Baidu cannot handle JavaScript. Therefore, all content must be in plain HTML.
  • Meta descriptions are essential. However, the Alt Image text feature isn’t as advanced.


Literally translated as “search dog,” Sogou is the second most popular Chinese search engine, with a market share of 15%. Sogou is powered by futuristic AI technology to cater to the millennial Chinese population.


Their AI-powered writing and voice assistant, powerful translation features, and ability to search for public WeChat accounts give it an edge above its main competitor, Baidu.

When it comes to SEO, Sogou prioritizes: 

  • Chinese websites or those hosted on Chinese servers.
  • Websites with high-quality content.
  • Websites with a strong backlink base.
  • Optimized title tags over meta descriptions.


Shenma is a mobile-only search engine that acts as a cross between an e-commerce website, an app store, and a search engine. Since it is created by Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce platform, you can automatically connect with product pages on Alibaba.


You can search for a wide range of products to buy or download, like movies, books, apps, clothing, etc., on Shenma. It is dominated by paid ads and also displays user reviews.

You can scope Shemna to understand the Chinese population’s keyword searches and buying processes as a business.


Technologically-savvy individuals in China primarily use Haosou. It is also considered the Internet Explorer of China because it comes pre-installed on most Chinese computers. 


Their focus is to provide a simplified and optimized mobile experience. You can search for many items like books, movies, maps, etc. 

Another great feature of Haosou is its top-notch cyber-security features. It is a significant reason why businesses encourage their employees to search for products on Haosou. In other words, it is an optimal platform for B2B marketing.

Haosou prioritizes high-quality websites. Due to lower competition, the cost of running ad campaigns on this platform is also lesser.


Youdao is a unique search engine with a user base of under-24 and high-income earning individuals. Thus, it is also the optimal platform for international businesses to market their product.


Youdao is a hybrid between an educational platform and a translation service. It is also the most comprehensive translation tool and online dictionary in China. 

The engine can translate words, blogs, articles, product pages, images, etc., from Mandarin to 20 languages. 

You can also find a variety of online courses and educational services on Youdao.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which Search Engines Can I Use In China?

In China, you can use Baidu, Sogou, Shenma, Haosou, and Youdao.

What Is The Chinese Alternative For Google?

Baidu is the Chinese alternative to Google.

Is Google Blocked In China?

You cannot use Google in China due to the Great Firewall of China.

Which Search Engine Enjoys The Highest Market Share In China?

Baidu has the highest market share in China.

Is Baidu Safe To use?

Baidu transmits unencrypted personal data to servers and is prone to cyber-attacks.


This post is your guide to search engines in China and how you can use them. 

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