Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
How Qihoo 360 Won the Browser War in China (digital-dd.com)
49 points by joshwa on Sept 10, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 29 comments

Regardless of the actual browser, Qihoo demonstrates absolute mastery of the Dark Pattern.

Agree with this, they have come from a fairly weak position to a point where they have a significant chunk of the browser market and have even launched their own search engine competing with Baidu, reportedly taking 10% market share in a week(!)


It deserves a mention on the wiki: http://wiki.darkpatterns.org/

Microsoft getting a taste of its own medicine, though at the higher concentrations allowed by Chinese (lack of) law.

Win the war in China? LOL

In fact ,qihoo 360 a company which is good at writing rogue products, it main product security guard 360 collects user's private data then transfer to their server. before that ,it also become notorious for another rogue product cooperate with cnnic.

Author of this piece here. AMA. To start, no I wasn't paid by anyone to write this, have no position in Qihoo, and have no affiliations with Citron, Muddy Waters or Qihoo.

Their dual core browser - they have more than one browser - bakes in functionality that some extensions provide to allow switching between Chromium and Trident rendering engines. Arguably this pushes forward adoption of Webkit in China, as it means that people can browse using Chromium much of the time and switch back to "Compatibility mode" for many of the sites that are designed for just IE.

Also it might be difficult for websites to know when Qihoo's browsers are being used, see two sample user agent strings below.

Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 9.0; Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; Trident/5.0; MAAU)

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/536.11 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/20.0.1132.57 Safari/536.11

A couple of slightly inaccurate points in the article: I just installed and uninstalled 360 safe browser - no option to revert to IE, so that point's not correct. The icon is much like IE, but they have their own distinctive icon for their dual core browser.

Here are the "About my browser" links:

https://aboutmybrowser.com/3787375515 (Qihoo with Chrome core)

https://aboutmybrowser.com/658681127 (Chrome dev)

Seems Qihoo are one version behind the stable version released at the end of August.

" Society trains people not to question authority. Qihoo took advantage of years of accumulated branding as an authority on security to exploit the ‚Äúsuspension of suspiciousness‚ÄĚ that arose when users were asked to install or make default its browser. The company must continue to approach product promotion from new angles to support its strong growth in advertising revenues. "

What society teaches people not to question authority? Which types of authority? There were nearly 100,000 peasant protests in China last year.

The default and innocuous -- at first glance -- nature of 360 is probably why it is doing so well.

> What society teaches people not to question authority?

When your doctor tells you you have <insert disease name>, do you usually question him?

So the browser is a virus. Who better to distribute this than the dominant antivirus platform.

Wow, wouldn't it be illegal to do, what they did elsewhere?

The only thing in here that's outright actionable (in the united states) is the trademark infringement on the IE logo. Everything else is merely unethical, not illegal.

Sounds like the sort of crapware that comes pre installed on new PCs.

Don't upvote this, it sounds like a propaganda piece that is responding to the Left/Citron short positions. I'm pretty sure Qihoo doesn't rule the browser market in China (IE still does well), and their product is really just so so.

Poster here-- I came across this as a link in a previous HN article [1] and thought it would be interesting to folks here.

I live in China and it truly is a parallel universe when it comes to computing. Local clones of everything, from iPhones to farmville. However to own an actual Apple product is a huge status symbol (iPhones, but especially iPads and Airs). The green "IE" logo is an attack vector that is completely consistent with the ersatz nature of all computing in China.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4498724

The Beijing tech scene is sort of small so we exchange a lot of war stories. Qihoo is definitively buying some press and baking some numbers. The article is not informative and seems paid for, hence why it shouldn't be up voted.

Beijing is its own bubble of course (more macs than other cities) but Im sure IE has the lead in Chinese browser market share.

Paid for? What company would pay to be shown as someone bringing malware (which this browser essentially is) to customers PCs?

Propaganda? I get quite the opposite feeling from the article, it seems to imply that it has gained popularity by shady and/or deceptive means.


the idea is that you promise to sell stocks in the company at some future time (at a price fixed now), then diss the company so that their stock drops, so that by the time you need to fulfill the contract you can buy the stock cheaper than the agreed price.

(no idea if this is true or not - had not heard of citron until this thread)

This is what shorting is, and this is what Citron do. Their Sohu report highlighted in the FT report was really bad, and Li Kaifu took it apart in detail. Citron are not particularly constructive in their criticism, and the Sohu report really was weak to someone with a basic understanding of the China software / internet market, so there was an understandable backlash from Chinese internet companies who want to protect the reputation of their market given that many of them list ADRs on Nasdaq. That said they started out a few years ago with some successful short calls, just recently the opportunities seem to be somewhat less as many of these companies have solid revenues despite the lack of transparency.

Usually you short because you think a stock is overpriced and you have good reasons for that. Chinese companies are also often incredibly opaque, making them good targets.

I downvoted: what kind of propaganda piece says Qihoo are tricking users to install their browsers! And points out that they are being shorted and that they are vulnerable in the market?

Also their product is not that bad, although not particularly innovative it's arguably better targeted at the local market in some ways.

Sorry, I read the article wrong, and I deserve my downvote! I was talking about Qihoo a few weeks ago with a former employee, and...its definitely an interesting company. Their product also reflects on us (I work for Microsoft) negatively, so Qihoo really inspires lots of anger on my part.

> I'm pretty sure Qihoo doesn't rule the browser market in China (IE still does well), and their product is really just so so.

Non-Chinese often make mistakes like these because they are extremely ignorant. Do you guys know there are a whole category of browsers called IE Shell [1] whish provides very rich features, even richer than Firefox/Chrome/Safari? Often they share the same or similar User-Agent with IE.

360 also makes webkit based browser[2]

Browser markets in China is a niche, people tend to choose browsers wich opens any link in a new window/tab, also the superdrag & native mouse guesture is a killer feature. Which doesn't exist well on other browsers.

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Explorer_shell

[2]: http://chrome.360.cn/

Amongst foreigners who take an interest in the Chinese browser internet market many will know this, they are not all extremely ignorant. "Often" suggests that the number of foreigners taking any interest is significant, which I doubt.

For an explanation of their market share claims (60%) against reality (~21%) see http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/582827-matt-berry/529681-d...

Something doesn't seem right... Quick check with another source shows IE still in the lead: http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-CN-monthly-201108-201208

My mistake. I thought the article was a puff piece, but it turns out to much more critical than my first read. Qihoo is a really shady company, and they deserve all the flak that can be thrown at them.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact