An interesting article posted last week at Bloomberg, noted that China can’t spell Google, and that this may be playing a role in Google playing second fiddle to Chinese search giant Baidu.
“Internet addresses in China are based on the Hanyu Pinyin system that translates Chinese characters into roman letters. Sounds such as “gle” don’t exist.”
“G-O-O-G-L-E is not a normal Chinese spelling and people don’t pronounce it right,” Kai-fu Lee, Google’s president for Greater China, said in a Nov. 30 interview in Beijing. “Most people call us `go go.’”
As a result Google acquired the ‘G.cn’ domain to help users who misspell Google’s name.
China holds the internet’s second largest market with 162 million users, and Google only sees approximately 30% of this market, compared to Baidu with 61%. Credit Suisse Group estimated that in 2006 only 1 percent of Google’s revenue was generated in China.