Google Local Hustles in China
Google has launched a Chinese version of Google Local for residents of the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese Google Local is termed Google Bendi (Bendi is Mandarin and/or Cantonese for Local or ‘Natives’) and still in beta, Google Local China’s Beijing maps are powered by Mapabc.com.
Pacific Epoch reports that Google Local (Bendi) China is “similar to the English version of Google map and local search services. Google’s Chinese local search service includes maps for 77 cities and information on businesses and services for over 100 cities.”
China has become the new turf for the great search engine war between Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and eBay. Yahoo’s investment of $1 billion in Chinese net marketplace Alibaba.com was astounding. A recent survey reported that the search engine market share for China is growing and changing by the month.
From the AP : A survey conducted by the Beijing-based China Internet Network Information Center, reported that Baidu.com Inc. boosted its market share in Beijing by 10.8 percentage points to 52 percent. Google Inc.’s share was at 33 percent, as the American Internet search engine kept its customer base steady while the overall market grew, said the survey, seen Tuesday on CNNIC’s Web site.
Six months ago, Google held the largest market share in the three cities covered by the survey, which was conducted earlier in August, the report said, without giving specific figures. CNNIC’s survey found Baidu has a 43.9 percent market share in Shanghai compared to 38.2 percent for Google. In Guangzhou, Google’s market share was 28.7 percent while Baidu’s was 48 percent. Meanwhile, U.S. Internet giant Yahoo! held only a 3.7 percent market share overall, with smaller Chinese rivals Sohu.com and Sina Corp. claiming a 4.6 percent and 4 percent share, respectively.
Additionally, Google and Microsoft are taking their tift over the Chinese search market to the courts over Dr. Kei Fu Lee, the former Microsoft employee who was set to head Google’s China efforts. Jim Hedger writes “Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are all heavily invested in the growing Chinese tech world. Google and Yahoo both made major moves this month in relation to their interests in China, the most public being Google’s hiring of former Microsoft executive, Dr. Kei Fu Lee. Google and Microsoft are now engaged in a bitter legal dispute over Google’s hiring policies. The decision in this case could have far reaching implications on how major tech firms recruit employees as well as on Dr. Lee’s role in heading Google’s efforts in China.”