Chinese Internet company Tencent has recently started a marketing campaign for its search engine product in Shanghai and this business promotion will be launched in nine cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Chengdu.
Xiong Minghua, chief technology officer of Tencent, revealed to local media that in the past five years, Tencent has invested CNY1.2 billion in the research and development of its search engine product, Soso.com; and the company plans to invest an additional CNY1 billion in the sector in 2012.
Xiong said at present, Tencent has not set any performance goal for Soso.com; however, they hope it can achieve profit in the following two to three years. Xiong also introduced that over the past ten years, Tencent has been focusing on individual users and gained many successes. In the future, the company plans to make business users its major growth point. Under this new business model, the search engine business, which is related to e-commerce and advertising, will become the major content focus. This represents Tencent's strategic transformation.
Xiong said, among the Internet applications, the search engine model has developed into a mature business structure. Tencent will dig out opportunities in this market and make it an integral part of Tencent's portfolio.
About 81.9% of Chinese netizens use the search engine services, forming a user group of 375 million people. The current Chinese search engine market has reached CNY4.32 billion, and the market is expected to maintain fast growth in the next three years.