Best Baidu: The story behind China's Google killer
"The Cold War is over," a friend of mine loves to say, "and Communism won." As the New York Times says, global U.S.-based Internet companies can't dominate the Chinese market — it's a whole different ballgame. And in search, the market is all Baidu's.
The Chinese search company not only has a home-team advantage over interlopers like Yahoo and Google, but it also has the support of the Chinese government, thanks to its cheerful compliance with government censorship. Clive Thompson reported in April that Baidu allegedly ratted out Google to the Chinese government, one of many competitive tricks the company is said to commit.
The Times, though, focuses on Baidu's founder Robin Li and his early adoption of "link analysis" (ranking sites by how many others link to them) and keyword ads in search results. And don't forget Baidu's advertised ability to recognize punctuation.
One more hint comes from the New York Times style. It's an old trick of the Times to put the marginalized story in the second rebuttal half of an article. ("...in short, McDonald's is optimistic. But a fast food critic says...") Savvy readers often skip to this bit for the "real" story. In this case, though, the Times waits until 3/4 through the piece to give some opposition time, and the sourced quotes are sparse there. This piece is a solid vote for Baidu.