Google is getting into the year-end spirit with its annual rankings of the “most searched,” “fastest rising,” and other “hot” terms for 2008. For China, as elsewhere, the general list of most-searched words and phrases, in terms of absolute numbers, is fairly predictable. China’s is primarily made up of domestic Web portals, video-sharing sites, e-commerce and file sharing sites.
More interesting, to us at least, are the ancillary lists (in Chinese here) that highlight rising trends and hot searches. Some of these are unsurprising as well (Sichuan earthquake, Beijing Olympics, milk powder), but others shed some light into the issues that have resonated with China’s Google users (who, overall, tend to be more educated, wealthier and urban than those who use Google’s more popular homegrown rival, Baidu). So here, with links and explanations as needed, are a selection of Google China’s top-tens.
Fastest rising search terms in mainland China 中国内地年度上升最快关键词：
1. Edison Chen: Hong Kong actor whose x-rated photos with various local starlets were leaked to the world and aroused huge interest in mainland China.
2. Olympics opening ceremony: our highlights here.
3. Sichuan earthquake: China’s worst natural disaster in three decades.
4. List of substandard milk powders: People searched for this after learning that many brands of milk powder had been laced with melamine, a toxic industrial chemical.
5. Sexy photo-gate: Broader term used to encompass the Edison Chen scandal noted in the top spot above.
6. Painted Skin: Hit film about a flesh-eating vampire woman, based on a traditional Chinese story.
7. “Naked agent f.b.i.”: Screen name of a Shanghai white collar worker who posted revealing photos of herself on her Myspace blog.
8. National soccer team welcomes you: A spoof on the Olympic song “Beijing Welcomes You,” in honor of the much-maligned Chinese football team.
9. Liu Xiang withdraws from competition: China’s star hurdler brought the nation to tears when he pulled out of the Olympics.
10. Shenzhou 7: China’s first spacewalk mission.