China Mobile, Xinhua to develop new search engine

China Mobile, the world’s biggest cellphone carrier and Xinhua, China’s official state run news agency, signed an agreement to establish a new Internet search engine and international media company, “Search Engine New Media International Communications Co.” It was not immediately clear whether this new venture would cover mobile search only or develop a traditional search engine as well.

There are more than 420 million Internet users in China with an additional 800 million mobile phone subscribers. China’s online search market is currently dominated by Baidu which according to Analysys International controls 70 percent of China’s market share. Google ranks in second place with 24.2 percent falling from 30.9 percent in the first quarter. falling from 30.9 percent in the first quarter.

In the mobile search space Baidu leads with about percent share, followed Easou, a WAP-based mobile search partnering with Chinese Web portal Sohu.com, with 17 percent and Google with about 12 percent.

Google pulled out of China earlier this year, complaining about online attacks that appeared to be coming from hackers within China. It now operates its search engine from Hong Kong but Google recently renewed its license to operate its search services in China.

Xinhua New Agency Vice President Zhou Xisheng was quoted as saying “Search engines, which have powerful information integration abilities, play an increasingly important role in disseminating information and influencing public opinion.”

David Temple

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