By Lan Shen
What people search for online can be a good signal ofpresent and future consumer demand. In March 2009, we believe we became the first bank research team to use Google Tools to track whatpeople in China were searching for online. We are now excitedto find that Baidu, which has an 80% share ofthe search market among China´sonline population of300mn, has developed a similar tool, the Baidu Index (BI).Again, we believe we are the first to use this tool to highlight what the Chineseconsumer is thinking about. Our main findings are as follows:
Interest in buying a home has risen in the last few months, after pla-teauing at a high level in 2010. This is a bullish signal for near-term housingdemand.
Interest in buying a car is rising again, too.
Online interest in infiation is through the roof.
Wealth management products appear to be the dominant inflationmanagement tool for retailinvestors.
First, a quick note on how the BI works. We did all of our searches insimplified Chinese and limited them to searches in mainland China. The re-sults are an index representing the number ofdaily searches for that term ov......