Google Looks at Investing in Chinese Social Networking Companies to Boost Presence in China

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If you thought social networking was a fad, think again. Big players in the online world, including Google, are hoping to cash in on this craze and have been strategically exploring their options. Google has their sights set on becoming a market leader in China within five years, and part of their strategy is exploring investments in Chinese companies with a focus on social networking and mobile internet.

Google’s Greater China President, Kai-Fu Lee, who brought up the company’s interest in Chinese social networking, didn’t indicate whether the company was currently engaged in talks and declined the opportunity to elaborate. In late March, Google invested about $1 million in Comsenz Inc., a Chinese start-up that provides software and services for online community networks.

During the fourth quarter of 2007, Google accounted for 26% of China’s internet search revenue, doubling from 13% in the first quarter of 2006. In this same period, Baidu’s share of the search market rose from 44% to 60%, which means Google still has some ground to catch up on.

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