Yahoo! Struggles in China

This recent article in USA Today covers the Internet access craze in China. According to the article, the number of people online has surpassed 68 million, making it the second-largest Internet market next to the U.S. — and it has much more room to grow.

What also was interesting is that the local Internet portals have made Yahoo! China largely irrelevent. According to a recent survey, Yahoo! China is the least popular — by a large margin — of the four major Internet providers. The most popular (in order) are Sina, Sohu and NetEase.

Why is Yahoo! having so much trouble? Blame localization (or lack of localization). According to the article, “foreign Web sites often take longer to appear on Chinese computers and seem to lack an intuitive feel for the Chinese market.” Compare the NetEase, SoHu and Yahoo! sites below:

netease.gif

sohu.gif

china_cn.gif

These two sites look a lot more like one another than they do like Yahoo! It could be that Yahoo’s global template is working against its local success; just a thought anyway.

This user quote pretty much sums it up: “I go online to find local information most of the time. So why would I use a foreign Web site?”

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