What to know about Baidu Baike – the equivalent of Wikipedia in China

When a Western brand looks to do business in China, it must rapidly become familiar with an entirely different set of marketing, engagement and e-commerce platforms from those found at home. After all, familiar sites such as Google, Facebook and Twitter aren’t available in China – although sophisticated, powerful and hugely popular Chinese alternatives exist for all.

Interestingly, there is a Chinese version of Wikipedia, but as a non-vetted website it is often blocked by the Great Firewall of China. Instead, Baidu Baike (‘collaborative Chinese encyclopaedia’) – the equivalent of Wikipedia in China – is more popular and trustable amongst the country’s 800 million internet users. In fact, it is one of China’s most visited websites and has billions of searches every year. As the Wiki is owned by Baidu, its entries feature predominantly in Baidu search results – so brands are hungry to get quality pages on Baidu Baike to improve their search rankings and visibility, as well as brand reputation.

The advantages of Baidu Baike

Creating and maintaining a Baidu Baike page is a key way to position and strengthen your brand in China – especially if you are yet to achieve strong organic search rankings. Use of the site for business marketing purposes is also a relatively cost-effective route to brand building in China, especially compared to other digital routes.

It’s certainly a platform that marketers need to know, so let’s take a closer look at what it offers.

Key facts about Baidu Baike

1. Baidu Baike goes into far greater depth on Chinese topics than Wikipedia’s Chinese website. It has a greater number of articles too, as well as more detailed content – including recipes, internet programs, short films and video games. As of January 2018, there were over 15 million pages on the site. Chinese version of Wikipedia, on the other hand, does have long articles but these are on non-Chinese subjects and are typically direct translations from the English language site.

2. Political bias is to be expected, as Baidu – which ranks content – is based in Mainland China and therefore subject to government censorship. It’s also worth noting that Chinese version of Wikipedia is also frequently blocked by the Great Firewall of China and most of its contributions come from American Chinese contributors, as well as contributors in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

3. The layout and style of each site are different. Chinese Wikipedia largely mirrors the English version. Baidu Baike is designed for Chinese script. The main language is simplified Chinese script and any messages posted in traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean or Japanese are translated automatically.

4. Baidu Baike is owned by Baidu and therefore commercial. It posts advertising on the pages, which provide its revenue stream – and which offers opportunities for advertisers. (Wikipedia – both in the West and in China – operates on a non-profit and donation supporting basis.)

5. Also, as Baidu Baike is owned by Baidu, its content inevitably appears at the top of the first page for organic search results. It also has high authority and trust amongst its users.

6. Western brands can use Baidu Baike to:

– Create, host and share their own Wiki page – building up an informative, authoritative brand page (with links to the brand’s other digital assets)
– Use Baidu display advertising
– Build SEO for defined keywords
– Receive indirect traffic through referral links

Baidu Baike marketing tips for success

1. Set up a Baidu account. This will allow you to create an edit your branded content on Baike. There are different channels to create a Wiki page between overseas and Chinese companies, and Chinese marketing agency can assist with this for you.

2. Create your Wiki entry for your brand, following Baidu Baike’s editorial policy. For example, there are various types of content which are not allowed, such as advertisements, violent content, unethical or immoral content, spam-like content or personal facts. The platform approves all content before it goes live.

3. Regularly review your entry to see if updates and cross-links can be made. The more you invest in your update, the greater your authority ranking within the site and the better the chances of your brand being returned for relevant search queries. Similarly, update content for latest news articles and other sources of referenced material, so keep your page fresh and as relevant as possible. Invest in great imagery too, and check out your page on digital devices to see what your Chinese audience will see.

4. Consider using targeted Baidu PPC to further enhance your search rankings on China’s leading search engine. This will help to grow your brand’s exposure amongst Chinese online users searching for products or services like yours.

5. Use a Chinese digital marketing agency to make the process as quick, easy and as streamlined as possible. As Baidu Baike and Baidu are both in Chinese, it can be difficult to navigate the processes required for account set-up, administration, editing authorisation and so forth. Native Chinese speakers with plenty of professional experience in the field of Chinese digital marketing can greatly facilitate the process and avoid any hiccups along the way; bringing you better results and a clearer ROI.

Contact Us Today

Market Me China works with Western brands across all industries, including education, tourism, tech, e-commerce, and B2B. Whether you are looking to enter the Chinese market or to grow your brand presence and sales in China, we provide the proven and expert digital marketing services that you need, including Baike marketing in China – Baidu Baike, Sogou Baike and Hudong Baike. Our team of native Chinese speakers and digital marketing experts will work with you on a flexible basis, according to your unique needs. Please contact us to find out more.

(Image source: Baidu Baike)