Google maintains a dominant role among users in the U.S. and some European markets, but in China, Google’s entry has been hampered by government censorship. To firm up its presence in the local market, the company has entered into a partnership with Internet portal SINA Corp.
The partnership has Google providing Web page services like site and Internet search, as well as advertising across SINA’s properties. Eventually Google is expected to expand into news and other content areas on SINA.
“This partnership leverages the strong offerings of two Internet powerhouses to provide Internet users in China a better overall experience,” said SINA CEO Charles Chao, in a company statement. SINA was unavailable for comment.
The partnership is expected to provide benefits for both parties. SINA, which reports on its site it has 230 million registered users worldwide, and has earned as many as 500 million daily pageviews, will enhance its portal offerings. Google can use the partnership to grow its brand, products and services in China.
“I think the primary way it will benefit Google is that it has no easy way to expand in China,” JupiterResearch Analyst Kevin Heisler told ClickZ News. “There’s a huge advantage to working with a local company, and SINA has growth of about 20 to 25 percent annually. It allows Google to do what Google does best, which is to monetize content.”
Since entering the market in China, Google has allowed censorship by the Chinese government to affect what search results it presents to users in China. “That was a black eye, and probably the only stumble Google has had internationally,” said Heisler.
Heisler sees the partnership as an inroad into the Chinese market. “I think there’s an opportunity in the future to grow. Google’s great strength has been that it remained in online advertising. There is no reason why other large sites wouldn’t want to partner with them, or perhaps be purchased by Google.”
He placed SINA as the number three site in China, while competitor Baidu.com, in which Google formerly held a minority stake, has about 50 percent of traffic over comparable sites in China.
“[Google] is setting its eyes on Baidu, and that’s the primary focus,” Heisler said. It will be interesting to see what Baidu does in response.”
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