Xinhua, China Mobile team up for search venture

By Wang Xing and Chen Limin (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-08-13 13:27
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BEIJING - Xinhua News Agency said on Thursday that it will launch its own search venture with China Mobile, pitching it in direct competition with private search engines like Baidu Inc and Google Inc.

The two companies signed a framework agreement on Thursday and their cooperation in the search industry has entered "a substantial phase", said Xinhua in a report, without providing any additional details.

Xinhua's plan comes close on the heels of the People's Daily and its website launching a beta search service in June and after US search engine Google closed its mainland search engine in March and started redirecting traffic to Hong Kong.

The current use of Xinhua's search engine was limited to the agency's websites and other websites it supports. It has most of the basic search function such as Web search, news search and video search but uses a search technology different from Baidu and Google.

Ren Yanghui, an analyst from domestic research firm Analysys International, said that the new search engine will have little impact on the mobile search market in the short term.

"It may take at least two years for the two companies to come up with a decent product as search technology needs more time to develop."

But he said it was the right time to enter the search market, as Google's exit has created more opportunities for other players.

Google's market share in China fell to 12.3 percent in the first half from 23.6 percent six months earlier in the mobile search market. Baidu's market share rose to 34.3 percent from 26.6 percent, according to Analysys International.

China Daily