Google gets the Baidu blues again after mapping losses

Chinese rival set to overtake Google Maps


Google looks like being beaten again in China, as Baidu leaps ahead in the mobile mapping space.

The text ads giant was still second in the Quarterly Survey of China's Mobile Map Client Market, but only just, according to Beijing-based Analysys International.

Chinese player Autonavi was the market leader by a long way, with 25.7 per cent, and Google Maps came in second with 17.5 per cent, but had Baidu breathing down its neck in third with a 17.3 per cent share.

The momentum is with the Chinese search firm too – Baidu Maps' market share rose from 13.6 per cent in Q1 to 17.3 per cent in Q2 while Google’s fell from 23.2 per cent. As a result, Baidu is predicted to supplant Google in the current quarter.

To add to Google’s woes, the analyst said local users were having problems updating their version of its mapping client, while Apple is set to drop Google Maps as a pre-install on the next version of iOS, with reports suggesting Cupertino is working with Autonavi now in the region.

“If the above problems are not solved quickly, it's hard for Google map to reverse the situation,” wrote Analysys International in a blog post.

Baidu and Google are of course old foes in the search space, where the home-grown firm routed its Californian rival after Google moved its search servers to Hong Kong in 2010 over censorship concerns.

Google's market share is now around 16 per cent while Baidu dominates with around 78 per cent.

The mobile map market in China is growing at a staggering pace, jumping 206 per cent year-on-year last quarter to 229 million accounts, according to Analysys International.

The analyst predicted it would be a key battle ground for the next phase of the mobile internet given that maps and associated apps are closely tied to up to a quarter of mobile advertising. ®

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