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Old 16th August 2007, 04:08 PM
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Google on investment path as China booms

ONLINE search giant Google Inc has invested in another four to five Chinese Internet firms to rival domestic leader Baidu.com, its China president said yesterday.

But Kai-Fu Lee declined to name any of them, saying they are in the fields of search, entertainment, the online community and others.

Google earlier invested in the Shenzhen-based Xunlei Network Technology Co, which provides file-sharing and other services, in its first such foray announced in the Chinese marketplace. "Globally, we just typically do more investments than we do acquisitions," Lee said.

Google is adding investment and contents in China to cash in on the huge market growth. In the second quarter, it had a 23 percent market share in China's online search sector, compared with Baidu's 58 percent, according to industry researcher Analysys International.

Lee said Google's search volume had risen quicker than forecast to 60 percent in the first half, leading to an increasing market share.

He said more chances in the online search sector will come from first-time computer and mobile users.

"In the future, many people's first-time Internet experiences will be made on their handsets," Lee said. "The number of new Internet users is growing very fast in China.

"It will only be a few years before new online surfers will outnumber existing ones, so we have to pay great attention to the sector."

Lee said Google has been looking for more partners, like telecom operators and Website portals, to expand the mobile platform. The United States firm has teamed up with China Mobile.

Lee was speaking at Google's new Shanghai research and development center, which was opened to journalists for the first time yesterday.

Lee said there's no "upper limit" for recruitment for the Shanghai facility, which joins two other Chinese research centers in Beijing and Taipei.

Opened in June, the Shanghai center has recruited about 40 engineers. "That's quick .. that's something we never see in our other centers in any other country," said Lee, also Google's global vice president.

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/sp/arti...cle_327413.htm
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