Motorola Inc is letting consumers in China use Baidu Inc or others as default Web search services instead of Google Inc's service, even on phones using Google's Android software.
The announcement on Thursday of a partnership with Google's arch-rival Baidu, China's No. 1 search engine, and the promise of more search deals comes after Google threatened to exit China due to a cyber attack and censorship dispute.
The move by Motorola comes amid concern from some investors that the Google dispute would hurt the cellphone maker's turnaround effort, which is heavily dependent on Android and selling phones in the fast growing Chinese cellphone market.
Christy Wyatt, Motorola's vice president for software and services, said the move was a way to offer customers choice and declined to comment on the Google dispute. Neither did she address Google's announcement that it postponed two Android phones in China.
Motorola also announced an application store for Android phone users in China, where Google's own app store has not been available, and said it may do this in other countries as well.
There's an opportunity not just in China, where there is no market for applications, Wyatt said in an interview.
Motorola supports Google's own Android apps store in countries such as the United States, where apps have helped rivals such as Apple Inc's iPhone.
Motorola said its SHOP4APPS store would be available for new smartphones in China in time for the Chinese New Year in February.
Wyatt declined to give details about the other new search partners, saying it would announce them later on. Other mobile search providers include Bing from Microsoft Corp.
Motorola shares were down 0.8 percent at $7.42 on the New York Stock Exchange in afternoon trade. On Nasdaq, Google fell 0.5 percent to $577.44, and Baidu dropped 0.27 percent to $438.50.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Tim Dobbyn and Richard Chang)