Google search share closing in on Yahoo

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 December, 2006, 12:00am

Google, which started a sales operation in Hong Kong at the end of last year, increased its share of the city's online search market to 36 per cent last month as it narrowed the gap on market leader Yahoo Hong Kong, according to a survey.

Yahoo Hong Kong clung to its top position with 38 per cent share last month, a decline of 12 percentage points since January when it had half of the market, according to the survey by online researcher Hitwise Hong Kong.

Google's market share has surged from 26 per cent in January.

Microsoft's MSN search doubled its market share over the year, accounting for 12 per cent last month from 5 per cent in January, Hitwise said.

Google's gain was mainly due to the launch of several free applications that included software for internet security and an online photo album Picasa, the company's head of sales in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, Crid Yu, said.

'Such applications help to keep users stuck on our service and this will help us to generate more advertising revenue,' Mr Yu said.

Google launched its local sales operation at the end of last year, he said. The company now has more than 1,000 advertisers, which range from small and medium-sized firms to large portals.

'We sell advertisements to every one, as the ad words service, which sells the key words related to an advertiser's business, charges on a cost per click basis,' Mr Yu said. Some clients made a 400 per cent return on their advertising cost, he said.

Google also secured a partnership with Next Media's through the Google Adsense programme.

Atnext, an internet portal that offers online versions of Apple Daily, Next Magazine and other publications, has put Google search on its website and will share advertising revenue with the United States company.

Mr Yu said 60 per cent of Google's global revenue came from advertising, while the Adsense service would reach more than 80 per cent of local internet users.

Online advertising accounts for about 3 per cent over the total advertising market in Hong Kong, according to an industry survey.