Monday, January 28, 2008

Robin Li's interview about the Japanese venture


1. Moving into Japan because:

* already have over 70% of China's market
* Japan is second-biggest economy
* Internet penetration there is over 70%
* Main players, Yahoo and Google, are
* Chinese and Japanese both use extended
character sets
* Chinese and Japaness both do not have
spaces between words, which makes
indexing quite different.
* Japan is just 3 hours by flight from
China (Beijing, I assume) making it
easy for employees to go back and forth.

2. General strategy
* Focus on users first. Not very many ads
initially to avoid distracting users.
* Focus on mobile search as well. Unlike in
China, Japan has high-speed, cheap mobile
data services.
* Use the Olympics as a good opening, since
Baidu with its major China presence has
an advantage there over Japanese search
* On IPR issues, follow the lead of Yahoo
and Google.

3. Main disadvantage
* General perception in Japan that Chinese
goods/services are shoddy, and that
US/European products are superior.

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