Baidu is currently the most used search engine in China with 37% of the search market share, so for companies interested in advertising in China, it is too big to be ignored.
China’s No.1 search engine
However, it’s not easy to open a Baidu PPC account. Here is a guide to opening a PPC account on Baidu. Before you can even begin to start building a campaign, you will need the following things:
- A Chinese website
- Business license
- Certificate of Authorisation
- Proof of website ownership
- Contract between agency & Baidu
- ICP License (maybe)
- 5600 RMB deposit
Some of these steps are simple, others not so much. Going through them one-by-one, we have:
1) A properly translated Chinese website or landing page
Baidu require that you send them your landing page URL in advance, so they can assess the page’s suitability.
2) Essential documents for opening a new account
They are as follows:
a) A scanned copy of the Business License / Company Registration Document of the company whose name the account will be registered under. If you are agency advertising on behalf of a client, you may be able to get away with using your own.
ie . I would use the business license of Search Laboratory Ltd. If your business has ever changed name, then they will require both the original document of registration, and any updated versions.
b) Certificate of Authorisation / Authority Document – basically a contract between client and agency, giving you authorisation to advertise on their behalf. This needs to be signed by both client and agency. A blank form is available on request from Baidu. Details required on this form are as follows:
Consigner: Client name
Address: Client’s registered address
Legal Representative: Does not actually need to be someone from the legal department; any representative of the company will do, such as the Director
Contact: the primary contact
Consignee: Your company name
Address: your address
Legal Representative: a representative of the company
Contact: the primary contact at your agency
The form also instructs you to attach a “Consigner’s certificate of ownership of the website” as Baidu require proof that the website you’re advertising is really owned by your client. Luckily, a link to the WHOIS online registration details page will satisfy them. (eg. http://whois.domaintools.com/searchlaboratory.com).
c) A fairly straightforward contract regarding between you and Baidu. The twists are:
i) there is a Chinese and an English copy which must both be signed;
ii) It is the common practice in China for all official documents to be stamped in red ink with a company chop (ie. seal, or stamp). If this option is not available, a ‘paging signature’ will do. This means that the pages of the documents must be overlapped, and the signature written across the pages (ie. partly on one page, and partly on the next).
3. An ICP license
They may ask for an ICP license, which is where many will become unstuck. This a permit issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology authorising companies to operate inside China. A prerequisite for this seems to be an office or branch of the company in China. I say they ‘may’ ask for this – for my clients, sometimes they’ve asked, and sometimes they haven’t, so you may get lucky.
4. Deposit of 5600 RMB
A minimum opening deposit of 5600 RMB (approx. £500 or $820 as of January 2010) which includes 600 RMB account service fee. You will need to send a scanned copy of the transfer slip to prove payment.
After all that, there’s the simply the matter of writing your Chinese keywords and ad texts, and attempting to navigate the Chinese-only user interface. Alternatively, find an agency with experience managing Chinese PPC campaigns to handle it all for you!