This news is a week old but I saw some fascinating news on browser marketshare in China via Global Times: Chinese browsers are putting the heat on Internet Explorer.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) browser, which once dominated the Chinese Internet world with 96 percent of the market, has seen its share shrink to 57.8 percent due to the growing popularity of domestic brands.
It’s the lowest level in Microsoft’s history in China as domestic brands such as Maxthon, Tencent TT and Qihoo360’s 360 Secured Browser now account for 31.1 percent of the country’s browser market, according to data by iResearch.
The 360 Secured Browser‘s share has increased 50 percent from each previous quarter for three consecutive quarters, with its market share currently at 8.4 percent, iResearch said.
I have more questions than when I started reading this article such as:
– What is “domestic” Chinese about browsers (Maxthon, TT Browser, Green Browser, 360 Secured, etc.) that are powered by the Trident layout engine used in Internet Explorer, which is designed, developed and distributed by Microsoft Corporation from Redmond, Washington, USA?
Japanese browser wrapper providers like Lunascape and Sleipnir also claim to be “Japanese” when similarly the core layout technology of those browsers is made by Microsoft or Mozilla or Webkit (Apple/Google). There is nothing “Japanese” about those browsers except the “chrome.”
– If you add up the 57.8% that IE has, and the 31.1% that the Trident-based Chinese browsers have, you end up with 88.9% or basically 89% of the Chinese market uses the Trident layout engine. So clearly it is still a struggle for a Webkit or Gecko based browser to gain market share in China if the majority of the web pages are probably coded for IE. Once Trident-based browsers lose more than 15-20% share, web compatibility usually stops becoming an issue.
-What makes 360 Secured Browser more secure than other browsers? Are there real security features that 360 Secured has that other browsers do not? Or is it merely marketing?
– What makes the Chinese users so different that Firefox is “culturally different” and therefore harder to use for Chinese users when Firefox is often very popular in just about every other country across the globe?
There is so much about the China market that is unique for many reasons, be it at the network level where the main networks in the country (China Netcom, China Unicom, Chinese university network) do not peer, or the Green Dam Youth Escort, or the Golden Shield Project. But even at the browser level, China’s Internet market is quite different than any other.
I’d welcome your thoughts on what makes the Chinese market interesting and unique and what Mozilla should do to better address the China market.