2004's Top Chinese Search Results

Google may be the search engine of the West, but in China it’s still trailing one called Baidu (百度). The name means “one hundred degrees.” I hear Baidu is so popular in China that the word 百度 is starting to be used as a verb in Chinese just like we now say “Google it” in English.

Baidu recently published its list of top 10 searches of 2004, and organized the data in such a way as to actually make it interesting reading. The results are really very illuminating (if you trust internet search results to reveal anything real about a culture). Readers of Chinese, I recommend you look at the original. For everyone else, here’s my select translation:

Top 10 Search Terms:

  1. MP3
  2. Pao Pao Tang (an online game: 泡泡堂)
  3. Dao Lang (a singer: 刀郎)
  4. QQ (China’s most popular IM software)
  5. BT (abbreviation for BitTorrent)
  6. “Mice Love Rice” (a song: 《老鼠爱大米》)
  7. Guo Jingjing (Olympic gold medalist 郭晶晶)
  8. House of Flying Daggers (movie: 《十面埋伏》)
  9. A Chinese-style Divorce (a TV series: 《中国式离婚》)
  10. “The Legend of Little Bing” (a novel: 《小兵传奇》)

Top 10 How To’s:

  1. How to kiss
  2. How to lose weight
  3. How to put on makeup
  4. How to use contraception
  5. How to write a thesis
  6. How to make a webpage
  7. How to protect the environment
  8. How to get pregnant
  9. How to face difficulties
  10. How to make money

Top 10 Why’s:

  1. Why am I always the one that gets hurt?
  2. Why join the Party?
  3. Why live?
  4. Why are you having an affair?
  5. Why do we need to innovate?
  6. Why do we need to pay taxes?
  7. Why do we need to go to college?
  8. Why can’t I get online?
  9. Why do we need an education?
  10. Why do we need to learn English?

Top 10 What Is’s:

  1. What is love?
  2. What is health?
  3. What is a blog (博客)?
  4. What is a computer virus?
  5. What is e-commerce?
  6. What is cloning?
  7. What is nanotechnology (纳米[技术])?
  8. What are the ‘Three Represents’?
  9. What is BitTorrent?
  10. What is corporate culture?

The other top tens I didn’t translate are:

  • Top Ten MP3 Songs
  • Top Ten Sports Stars (Michael Jordan is still #3!)
  • Top Ten TV Series
  • Top Ten Movies
  • Top Ten Online Games
  • Top Ten Tourist Destinations
  • Top Ten Male Singers
  • Top Ten Female Singers
  • Top Ten Most Photographed Men
  • Top Ten Most Photographed Women
  • Top Ten Historical Figures
  • Top Ten Authors
  • Top Ten Cell Phones
  • Top Ten ‘Mosts’
  • Top Ten History of’s

I found this link via AKEM, a Chinese blogger who has quickly become one of my favorites. She’s a college student in Hangzhou, my original “Chinese home.” If you read her entry, you can see her commentary. She also links to Google’s 2004 Top Search Results, which is kind of interesting for comparison purposes. For one thing, Google’s list is a lot duller. There are no telling “why’s” or “how to’s” “what is’s,” which were the most interesting to read of Baidu’s lists. And Google’s top 5 search terms are all over-sexed female celebrities rather than four computer entertainment-related terms and a singer. Hmmm…


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. I’m not sure which came first, the chicken or the egg, but I’ve seen ‘to Baidu’ used as a verb in their own advertising – °×¶Èһϡ£

  2. Baidu is awesome for finding mp3s of songs you can’t get in the local record store (and the legality is about the same). Its results are slightly different from Google’s web searches, so it’s often useful to compare.

    So to compare, Google’s International Queries China list shares µ¶ÀÉ and С±ø´«Ææ with the Baidu list.

    I was initially excited to read about the “How do you…” and “What is…” lists, but it turns out that there is nothing special–it just performs a standard string search. A search for “ÈçºÎдÂÛÎÄ” (“How to write a paper” #5 on the how-to list) for example, only turns up pages with that phrase rather than actually parsing it and searching on a subject basis (in other words, “ÂÛÎÄÔõôд” doesn’t come up).

  3. What? No porn in the chinese list?? Are there ANY (teenage) males there at all?!

  4. Chinese (teenage) males are all busy ignoring their girlfriends while playing counter-strike. Besides, its ahem a bit difficult to clean the pipes so to speak in a public net bar.

    Thanks for a great laugh Jing, on BOTH comments!!! ^o^

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