September 24, Sogou officially announced the completion of delisting, and Tencent merger, Tencent holdings will become an indirect subsidiary. once sogou scenery unlimited, is the domestic PC installed rate of the highest Chinese input method manufacturers. In the era of mobile Internet, when all enterprises are building their own App ecosystem, Sogou did not keep pace, and fell into the dilemma of weak revenue growth under the restriction of single cash model.
To regard as in former days 2 shareholders of Tencent, after experiencing rescue sogou, and sogou, what it is doing is to open sogou, selective absorption. Sogou will be how into Tencent, become the focus of attention outside.
Sogou in those days is three rocket mode: with sogou input method with browser, with browser with sogou search. Wang Xiaochuan, sogou's former CEO, gave 99, 90 and 60 points to input, browser and search, respectively. This kind of evaluation is not unexpected, because the business behind is the front of the drive up, sogou input method is certainly sogou the most important product.
According to the news, search and input methods will maintain sogou brand operation. So in Tencent's traffic support, daily active users up to 460 million Sogou input method will usher in the moment of rebirth?
We can from the search dog into Tencent after the internal and external environment to look at these two angles. From the internal environment, the first analysis sogou input method for Tencent's value.
According to iiMedia Research, the number of third-party mobile phone input method users in China reached 755 million in 2020, up 3.6% year-on-year. According to the analysis, due to the impact of the epidemic in 2020, the demand for third-party input methods for online office and education users surged, and the scale of users is expected to further expand in 2021 as the influence of mobile Internet further deeps and sinks.
In this considerable market, the agency data shows that in 2020, the market share of third-party mobile phone input method is "double giants" competition pattern, Sogou input method with 43.6% market share continues to rank in the first tier, with Baidu input method equal. Computer terminal also does not fall wind, even without talking about advertising value, its penetration rate alone can support the development of many businesses.
Sogou three - stage rocket system, the input method is an important flow entrance. Tengxu is expected to tap its potential revenue to supply one of the few businesses it has failed in: search. Tencent began to research since 2009 search, 2012 Tencent search split recombination. In 2019, there was wechat "Soyso", but Tencent's pace since then has always been neither fast nor slow, until now, it has seized the opportunity of Sogou.
In addition, compared with advertising, Sogou input method in user information collection ability may be more important. Sogou's input method, which was released in August with an official 11.0 version that said "remove all nuisance ads," was supposed to be a gold mine for the company. And hand in hand after the rich and powerful Tencent, "confusing" advertising money can not earn, concentrate on the product itself information collection.
Wenyuan think tank founder Wang Chao thinks, "search and input method is the standard match of Internet big companies, Tencent is also in the stripping of a lot of business, found sogou this business is better placed in the system, so to buy all sogou. "It's hard to generate much revenue from search and input, but if it's in Tencent's own system, it can have a linkage effect."
2. Competition within Tencent
But "Rongcaijing" objectively speaking, win-win "linkage effect" is only an ideal situation. Let's move on to internal environmental factors. Sogou input method although a phenomenon product, but it in the new owner Tencent's life may not be easy to imagine.
At the beginning, Tencent's acquisition of Sogou was unconditionally approved by the General Administration of Municipal Supervision. This is because Sogou occupies 40%+ in the input market and Baidu respectively, while it is far inferior to baidu in the search market. Therefore, Tencent's acquisition does not cause market dominance.
In its last earnings report before delisting, Sogou reported a 44 percent year-on-year drop in revenue to $147.5 million and a net profit of $39.9 million. While search engines are still the primary source of information in the mobile Internet era, social platforms and e-commerce platforms account for 49 percent and 35.3 percent, respectively, according to iMedia.
This side shows a problem: the search engine as a standalone scene is no longer so important.
That's why some commentators have pointed out that Tencent's acquisition doesn't mean it wants to make waves in the input method and search markets. On the one hand, Baidu's position in the search market remains strong, with a market share of 69% at the end of 2020. On the other hand, traditional search is no longer the focus of capital and traffic. The headlines of that year took advantage of baidu, 360, Sogou and other giants in the search market battle, with "information flow" quietly rise.
After the merger, Sogou's search, AI, input methods, browsers and other products will be integrated with Tencent's Platform and content business Group (PCG) Tencent Hotspot. At worst, the integration is more about staff and technology, and sogou's search engine or even the input method is no longer important.
On this basis, sogou's biggest enemy in the future may no longer be Baidu, but from Tencent's internal, the most direct is the input method developed by wechat.
"Rongcaijing" see, at the beginning of this year, Zhang Xiaolong revealed that wechat is developing input method. He said many users received advertisements related to chat history, complaining that wechat exposed personal privacy. In fact, wechat is not allowed to save user chat records on employees' local computers,
It is the input method that uses chat history to advertise. Therefore, for the sake of user privacy, wechat should create an input method that never collects user data.
This also means that sogou input method after joining Tencent, will soon face "horse racing" mechanism and a core problem, that is, if there is a wechat input method, its own flow will be shunted. Imagine, after the wechat input method online with its huge user group as a basis, sogou input method is facing the situation may be very bad.
Before Tencent itself only QQ input method, market share belongs to the second echelon, market share and Baidu input method, Sogou input method compared to the basic negligible. In that case, Tencent really needs sogou input method to complete the ecological chain, but now wechat input method has been arranged, the situation is different. Even said that sogou input method technology may be in the integration of wechat input method to do "married clothes", then the domestic third party input method will usher in a different pattern.
3. External competition and supervision under chaos
Take a look at the external environment conditions of sogou input method, mainly including supervision and competition.
As a tool software and a portal connecting users and APP, input method itself is difficult to form an ecosystem, but the flow controlled is much larger than that of ordinary APP. According to the latest data from Bidar Consulting, the number of third-party mobile phone input method users in China reached 756 million in 2020, up 2.9 percent year on year, accounting for 76.44 percent of the total Internet users, while the mobile phone penetration rate was as high as 78.9 percent.
When people criticize traffic apps for revealing users' privacy, they tend to ignore another "suspect", that is, the input method as the source of information input. Sogou, for example, requires users to enable a variety of permissions, including location information, microphone, address book, camera and so on.
Rongcaijing saw that input methods, which have huge traffic, suffer from single cash channel and weak revenue structure, had to take up the idea of data, which also attracted regulatory attention. On May 1 this year, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) issued a Notice on the Illegal collection and use of personal Information by 33 Apps including Input method. Among the 33 apps involved in illegal collection of user information, 15 apps are input methods, among which input methods such as Sogou, IFly.com and Baidu are prominently listed.
Now that 5G and the Internet of Everything are in the public eye, the future of user interaction data will explode exponentially. Data is not only a huge intangible asset, but also a double-edged sword that may infringe on national security and personal privacy. It can be predicted that the status of input method as the source of information input will become crucial, and the supervision of mainstream input method will be tightened accordingly.
In addition sogou input method to deal with the increasingly serious industry volume. In March, for example, Huawei registered a trademark called xiaoyi Input method, and was accused of developing its own. At the beginning of September, xiaoyi input method has been opened inside, single-hand mode, suspension keyboard, thumb mode and other highlights full of users' expectations.
The starting point of Huawei's self-developed input method is the same as Tencent's, which is to avoid information security risks. In addition, mobile phone manufacturers' self-developed input method and the system naturally have a higher degree of fit, and there will be more imagination in the realization of user personalized functions. Of course, before the research products tend to mature, it is not so easy to replace the third party input method, but in the environment of attention to information security and the trend of large factories to take the lead, people call "the third party input method sooner or later."
In fact, Tencent for sogou this acquisition, emotional impact is greater than the actual impact -- after all, Sogou is not sogou, Sohu is not sohu, Tencent is not Tencent. Compared with the market will arouse how much spray, the attention of the public seems to be more on the burden of the "tragic" Wang Xiaochuan.
On October 15, Wang Xiaochuan issued a letter to all members of Sogou, entitled "The mountains and oceans are far and wide, heading for the new", which includes such a paragraph:
We are witnesses of history, enjoying the dividends brought by China's prosperity and Internet revolution. We are the creators of history, with the Internet as the cause, we have the opportunity to contribute to the happiness of hundreds of millions of people in the work, the meaning of life is therefore enriched, and the world is different because of sogou. Sogou into the Tencent family, hope the world is different again, not love.
Wang Xiaochuan is an epitome of Sogou. His biggest problem is that only a PC era of products, sogou input method although across the mobile Internet gap, but now mobile phone input method is a lot of time is the custom version of mobile phone manufacturers, and THE PC era is not the same. Times make heroes, and heroes can not always stand in the tuyere, The Times flood impact sogou and its input method, I'm afraid it is difficult to rely on Tencent, to review a "then yong".