Thu, Aug 10, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Google planning to open new facility in Shanghai

SECOND CENTER The firm is planning a second China development center as part of efforts to expand its Chinese-language database to compete with Baidu.com

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Google Inc, owner of the world's most-used Internet search engine, plans to open a center in Shanghai to help expand its database and add services to challenge Baidu.com Inc (百度) in the world's second-biggest Web market.

The development facility, its second in China, may open this year, Johnny Chou, Greater China region president of sales and business development for Google, said yesterday by telephone. Chou declined to give an investment figure or say how many people the center would employ.

Google is trying to win market share from Baidu, the most used search site in China, by hiring more engineers to increase the size of its Chinese-language search database and to introduce more local services.

The Internet search market in China is expected to generate sales of 5.62 billion yuan (US$704 million) next year, up from 3.62 billion yuan this year, according to Shanghai-based research company IResearch Inc.

"China is a very important market and Google has a long-term commitment to China," Allen Wang, head of Asia Pacific marketing for Mountain View, California-based Google, said yesterday by telephone.

The company's Web site yesterday had ads seeking applicants for two engineering positions, a salesperson, public relations and tech support in Shanghai.

Google is also looking to hire someone to head the Shanghai center, Chou said.

Google had hired Lee Kai-Fu (李開復) away from Microsoft Corp in July last year to serve as its China president and to head its first development center in Beijing. Microsoft filed a lawsuit against Google and Lee on charges the hiring broke a confidentiality agreement Lee signed with the Redmond, Washington-based software maker. The suit was settled out of court in December last year.

Focus on China

* Google opened its first China development center last year in Beijing.

* The company plans to hire ``thousands of people'' to work at the Beijing center.

* The new center in Shanghai may open this year.

* Google would not say how much it was investing in the new center or how many people it would employ.

* Internet search market sales in China are expected to reach US$704 million next year.


Lee had joined Microsoft in 1998 and oversaw the set-up of the company's software development center in Beijing.

Google's Beijing development center opened in the third quarter last year. The company plans to have "thousands of people" at the Beijing center, Google chief executive officer Eric Schmidt said in April, without giving a timetable for the hiring.

The search engine is also looking at locations in Shanghai for its center, Wang said.

Baidu has introduced a Web log, or blog, service similar to MySpace.com and an Internet encyclopedia similar to Wikipedia to attract users. The Beijing-based company's development spending more than doubled from a year earlier in the second quarter to 133.6 million yuan.

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