For text content on a site - say for example, a Chinese language site I could use HTML escapes:
库存了电气和电子应用 领域的连接器，从重型 工业连接
Or just UTF-8 encoded characters (not a representation of the above - just an example):
控制和洁净室, 测试与测量, 计算机与外围设备
Where both would appear the same to visitors - but differently in the page source. Given a new site, I've read that the accepted best practice seems to be just to use UTF-8 wherever possible. However, I'm working on a legacy / existing site and would like to understand if there is any difference SEO-wise?
Are both sets of text content (in an HTML document) equally visible to search engines (if the displayed characters / content is the same)?
Is there a difference between how Google or more local search engines (such as Baidu) would handle the content?