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Baidu lets corporate Japan read Chinese consumers' minds

Internet group's vast trove of data to be mined for insight into huge market

Baidu dominates China's search engine market, holding a share of over 80%. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

TOKYO -- Baidu, the Google of the Chinese internet, will offer its services to help Japanese companies place online advertisements more effectively and develop products that appeal to inbound tourists.

Baidu's Japanese arm will draw on the group's search engine, used 10 billion times a day, and its network of 17 million consumer monitors, one of China's biggest pools for surveys.

Foreign multinationals looking to do market research in China face difficulty assembling surveys bigger than several hundred thousand participants. Such companies must navigate strict regulations on the Chinese internet as well, further hampering survey efforts. The larger the pool of monitors, the better that marketing teams can target surveys to particular market segments.

Baidu also will partner with Tokyo-based ad agency Hakuhodo to provide marketing support for Japanese companies doing business in China. Hakuhodo possesses 18 years of data on Chinese consumers that will be combined with Baidu's search data to analyze consumer preferences in order to create more effective ads.

Baidu holds a share of over 80% in China's search market, allowing the company to collect an unparalleled amount of data on what Chinese residents shop for online. Hakuhodo's data includes Chinese consumers' brand preferences as well as internet and television habits. Hakuhodo is part of Hakuhodo DY Holdings.

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