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Google May Go Mobile In China

Doug Caverly
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-19

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Google is in early talks to make Internet search capabilities available to Chinese mobile phone users. There have been two meetings between the CEOs of China Mobile and Google to discuss the possibility, according to a China Mobile spokeswoman.

Google once dominated the Chinese search market, but has now fallen far behind Baidu.com, in which Google owns a minority stake. Together, though, the two companies control about 90 percent of the Chinese search market.

China Mobile is a mainstay, as well. It is the country's largest mobile operator, with about 261 million subscribers. And its subscriber base is growing rapidly, with about 4 million new subscribers every month, although the average revenue earned from each subscriber is decreasing.

With such rapid growth in the industry, Google isn't the only one looking to offer mobile Web search capabilities in China. Baidu has beaten them to the punch by teaming up with both Nokia and Intel to implement and develop the technology. But Google isn't trailing by far, having recently signed deals with Motorola and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications.

Google has made some fairly large efforts to establish itself in China. It changed its (regional) name to Gu Ge, the only alternate name it uses in the world. It also bowed to government pressure to censor search results, for which it has received quite a lot of flak.

CEO Eric Schmidt has defended the decision, saying that the company has received no complaints about it from Chinese users. And he tried to downplay the monetary side of the deal, claiming, "China is important not for revenue, though more revenue is always good. China is important because a fifth of the world's population lives in China, and a large proportion of them will be Internet users."

Google is also hard at work in several other countries. In Japan, for example, the operator KDDI is going to add a Google search box to its EZWeb mobile Internet service.

And so the search engine giant's spread continues.

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About the Author:
Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

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