Google Inc would strengthen its mobile search service in China, the first strategic move since the company came under the Chinese government glare for providing links to pornographic sites, ChinaDaily reported on Tuesday.
The Mountain View, California-based internet giant said on Monday it plans to aggressively promote its mobile search service, Google Map service as well as its Android wireless platform in the world's largest mobile market, where cellphone users reached 687 million by May, according to government figures.
China has huge wireless population, said Lee Kaifu, president of Google China, in a press release. Our strategy is very clear, that is to make mobile search service to outpace our PC-based search service.
The company also said it will upgrade its mobile search and Google Map service in China later this year.
Google's announcement came one month after it was accused of providing links to pornographic content in China. The Chinese government later ordered Google to shut down part of its service, including Google Suggest and Google Translate.
I think Google's focus on mobile search is part of its effort to rebuild the brand in China, ChinaDaily reported, citing Edward Yu, president of domestic IT research firm Analysy's International.
Google's business has been on a rapid growth in China during the past one year with its market share 27.8% in 2008 up from 23.4%, according to Analysis. The company also released a series of popular services in China in the past few months such as music search and spring festival map service.
But experts said the government move could significantly thwart its long-term development in the country, where domestic rival Baidu Inc dominates the market.
Chinese search giant Baidu, which was ranked the third-largest search company worldwide in 2008, gained a 62.2% market share in 2008, up from 59.3% in 2007, according to Analysys International, a research company in Beijing. Google's share in China for 2008 was much lower, 27.8%.
Baidu may now have an even bigger competitive lead thanks to the China's accusation of Google.
Since last month, Google has launched its first advertising campaign in China's big cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou for its mobile search service.
According to China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), China's Internet users reached 338 million by the first half of this year. Mobile Internet users increased 32.1% in the first six months of 2009 to 155 million, boosted by China's launch of third generation service.