5 Key Considerations for Setting Up a Baidu PPC Account

March 13, 2014: Baidu2014

Baidu is the world’s largest Chinese search engine and holds more than a 60% share in the Chinese search engine market. Worldwide, Baidu is the 5th largest destination online, in terms of traffic ranked relative to other sites, based on data from Alexa.com

As such, Baidu presents an attractive opportunity for B2B marketers looking to achieve visibility in the Chinese market. Baidu PPC Advertising is one mechanism for B2B companies to enter Chinese market via online marketing.

Unfortunately, setting up a PPC Advertising initiative through Baidu isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially for those B2B marketers used to Google AdWords and Bing AdCenter; even though the functionality is quite similar, administration is considerably different.

B2B marketers looking to set up a Baidu PPC account should take the following 5 points into consideration:

Baidu Divisions and Resellers Only Accept Local Clients

Baidu “only accepts local clients,” a rule that could help advertisers save lots of time when communicating with various Baidu resellers or Baidu divisions.

Baidu Divisions and Resellers InformationIn other words, the Baidu Beijing division or resellers only accept the clients located and marketing in Beijing.  They would not even be able to create an account for a client looking to target an audience in Shanghai or even from Shanghai (you have to go through Baidu Shanghai division or Shanghai reseller to do this!).

Foreign companies without an existing Chinese presence “on the ground” need to create the account through Baidu overseas resellers. For example, A US company would need to work with a designated Baidu US reseller for creating a Baidu account; they cannot go directly to Baidu or though the Beijing reseller.

However, there is an exception if a US company has an existing Chinese presence such as a China branch company or China factory. For instance, if a US company has a branch company in Shanghai, and the website it plans to promote on Baidu PPC ads is mainly related to the Shanghai branch company, the company would not be “defined” as an “Oversea client” by Baidu.

If an organization’s annual PPC advertising budget is large enough, it’s possible to create a Baidu PPC account through Baidu headquarters in Beijing, regardless of whether you’re a local or a foreign company. This is called becoming a “Key Account Client.” The minimum ad spend requirements for “Key Account Clients” are different for oversea clients and China clients, and they are also different for the different cities and regions in China. You have to contact Baidu headquarters for more detailed information or to learn about applicable requirements.

Additional Points:

  • Providing China Local Presence to Prove You Are a Local Client: If foreign B2B marketers want to prove they’re local clients, they have to provide the relevant information about having a local presence (i.e., a local website link or local certificate of incorporation).
  • Complicate Communication Process: The communication process for creating a Baidu PPC account is far more complicated than creating a Google Adwords account.  As a result, patience is required when communicating with various divisions or resellers in the process of creating a Baidu account.

Certificate of Incorporation

Unlike Google Adwords, Baidu requires that you submit a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation before you apply for a Baidu PPC account (it needs to be written and translated in English and Chinese (Mandarin)).

If you are an overseas company, you also need to provide one local government website, which allows Baidu to get the registration information for your company. Note that right now, Baidu PPC advertising will not accept any kind of lottery or pharmaceutical website advertisements based on Baidu PPC policy.

Sign a Contract

Establishing a Baidu PPC account involves signing a contract, which contains the privacy terms and advertising policy. B2B companies have to agree to these terms and email (or fax) the Baidu division or reseller the signed contract before applying for a Baidu PPC account.

For foreign companies, the commitment of overseas internet clients is essential, which includes the terms of Baidu service and relevant rules; for instance, the keyword selection and website content should comply with the provisions of Chinese law and all the information advertiser submit should be true.

Additional Points:

  • Reserve extra business days for the contract signing process: It takes time for the Baidu division or reseller to process the contract. For this reason, B2B companies should reserve extra business days for the contract signing process.
  • Translating Work: Foreign companies may need to translate the Chinese contract into an English contract by themselves since some Baidu China resellers may not be able to provide an English contract as well as those who speak English as a first language.
  • Legal Terms: Due to the differences between Chinese and Western law (as well as the cultural differences), foreign companies should pay close attention to the legal terms in the contract.

Fee for Account Creation & Down Payment

Baidu requires a company to pay for the account creation fee and pre-pay the down payment for PPC ad spend as well. Sometimes, the fee for account creation and down payment differ based on different divisions and resellers. For example, the down payment for the Baidu US reseller is CNY 5,000 while the down payment for the Baidu Suzhou reseller is CNY 10,000 (this varies year by year).

In addition, most of Baidu resellers require an annual service fee, which cannot be waived for any reason (including whether you need any services or recommendations of account management from them). Usually the annual service fee is CNY2,400/year.

Additional Points:

  • Not Only PPC Ad Spend: The Baidu PPC account includes more than the PPC ad spend. A Baidu account management fee = the Baidu account creation fee + the reseller annual service fee + the Baidu PPC ad spend.
  • Make Full Use of the “Annual Service Fee”: Do not hesitate to ask Baidu divisions or resellers for more detailed information and recommendations about the Baidu PPC management since, you’ve already paid for the services in your “Annual service fee.”

Payment Methods

The payment process can be inconvenient for a non-China company, since Baidu does not accept any form of international payment methods, including credit cards like Visa or Matercard; overseas third-party platforms like PayPal are also unacceptable.

For this reason, it’s advisable to for foreign companies to use a payment process through their Chinese bank accounts. Otherwise, companies have to transfer the ads budget to Baidu or Baidu resellers directly through international wire transfer.

Additional Points:

  • Translating work: As with translating the contract, B2B companies may need to translate the banking account information from Chinese into English by themselves since some of Baidu resellers may only be able to provide the banking account information in Chinese.
  • Reserve Extra Time for the Payment Process: It may take some time for banks and the Baidu division (or resellers) to process payments.  B2B companies should reserve more time (1-2 weeks) for the payment process, especially for the international wire transfer process (2-3 weeks).
  • Converting Currency: Most Baidu resellers accept only Chinese CN Yuan, so B2B companies may need to convert the US dollars into Chinese CN Yuan by themselves.
  • Re-funding Contract: B2B companies may need to sign a new re-funding contract if they plan to change the banking account in Baidu PPC payment; however, this depends on different resellers.

Final Thoughts

As can be discerned from the points outlined above, Baidu account creation is not as simple as creating an account in Google Adwords. Nevertheless, Baidu PPC is still one of the most effective and efficient internet marketing tools B2B companies in China and, for this reason, the extra effort may pay off over the long term.

Stay tuned for more tips and recommendations regarding Baidu PPC marketing in the future. If you have any questions or comments about creating a Baidu PPC account, free feel to contact us or share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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John Yeung

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