Google Search Ad Share in China Rises After Long Decline

Google saw a slight increase in its share of Chinese search advertising revenue at the end of 2010, after a long decline in its share, according to a Beijing-based market research firm.

The search engine giant's share of Chinese search advertising revenue rose to 23.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, a 1.5 percentage-point increase from the third quarter, Analysys International said Tuesday. At the end of 2009, though, Google had a 35.6 percent share.

The Chinese search engine Baidu.com, Google's rival in China, has long dominated the search business in the country, with a market share currently at 71.7 percent.

Google's slide in the Chinese market began at the start of 2010 when the company announced it might possibly leave the country after being the victim of a cyber attack that it said originated in China. This followed the company's move to stop censoring search results in China by redirecting all users from its Google.cn page to its unfiltered Hong Kong search engine.

Google's search business in China suffered as a result, analysts say. The company, however, continues to operate offices in the country. Last month Google held an event in Beijing promoting new products, one of which allows users to browse foreign web pages that have been automatically translated into the selected language.

Both Google and Baidu have cemented their user base in the country, said Sabrina Dong, an analyst with Analysys. In the future, the two search engines' market shares will remain about the same, with Dong adding that "Google and Baidu will lead as the top two."

In time, though, other domestic search engines may cut into their market share, Dong said. Other search companies including Sogou.com and Goso.cn hope to attract more users. E-commerce giant Alibaba Group also launched a beta version of its shopping search engine called Etao last year.

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