What were China’s 450 million mobile users ‘Searching’ for in 2006?

A summary of interesting tidbits provided by a press release from mInfo of China:

-WAP is currently actively used by only 30-40 million of the 450 million mobile users in the country, whereas SMS has over 90% adoption

-Searches were spread fairly evenly amongst the basic subject areas of Local Search (41%), Informational Search (31%) and Rich Content Search (28%).

-Local search involves finding directory information for locations such as bars, hotels and ATMs

-The five leading search categories in 2006 were: 1. Dining/Recreation 2. Jokes/Riddles 3. Ring tones/Pictures 4. News/Stock 5. Weather forecast

-The query model for mobile search is also quite different from web search. Mobile searchers tend to use longer query strings (5-6 words/query) vs. web searchers who average about two words per query. Mobile searchers tend to input phrases with qualifiers to improve specificity in an effort to increase relevance and get more precise answers.

-The average web search session usually involves 5 or more iterations of keywords with countless clicks on the resulting links. Contrarily, the average mInfo search session requires just 1-2 queries for users to find their desired answers.

-Search diversity is much higher on mobile vs. the Web. According to traffic data from a leading Chinese Internet search engine, the top 1000 keywords account for over 70% of all search traffic. However, for mobile search, the top 1000 queries account for only about 20% of the searches

-The 19-24 year old group seemed most interested in ring tones and pictures while the 25-29 year old group was more heavily weighted towards local search. The 30-34 year old group tended to spend more time on travel and news related searches.

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