You didn't think that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) would ignore the world's most populous nation, did you?
The global dot-com giant is introducing DoubleClick Ad Exchange in China, according to the Tech in Asia blog.
Google may have publicly marched out of mainland China two years ago, but it was really only a partial retreat. Google continues to be the second most popular search provider in the country, though it's always been a distant second. Market leader Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU ) -- with its 78% share of the fast-growing Chinese search market -- is the undisputed champ.
Does this mean that Baidu will begin relinquishing market share? No, but it should be pointed out that this wouldn't be the end of the world for China's leading search engine if it did play out that way. The Chinese market is growing at a brisk enough pace where a company can grow even as it relinquishes market share. Baidu grew its bottom line by 88% on an 83% spike in revenue in its latest quarter. Sohu.com's (Nasdaq: SOHU ) significantly smaller Sogou search engine has had quarters of even headier growth recently.
The market's booming, and this is good news for all players.
However, the reason why DoubleClick's entry into China isn't a big deal to Baidu is that the ad exchange is really a manager of display advertising. These aren't the text-based paid search ads that Baidu and Google rely so heavily on. The graphical realm of display advertising is more in lines with the revenue generated by Weibo parent SINA (Nasdaq: SINA ) and most of Sohu.com's business outside of Sogou and its Changyou.com (Nasdaq: CYOU ) online gaming subsidiary.
Again, even the display advertising market is growing in China. There is certainly room for SINA, Sohu.com, and countless other players to do well despite Google's renewed presence. As Chinese companies, they have the same benefit that Baidu has had in search in appealing to consumers as local success stories.
Even if Google is taking baby steps toward increasing its traditional search presence in China -- and that would make perfect sense at this point that Google is thinking of taking on Google in other Asian markets -- a new winner doesn't mean that there has to be an old loser.
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