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Friday, January 05, 2007 

Google To Offer Internet Search Service To China Mobile Users

Google said Thursday it will offer Internet search services to some China Mobile mobile-phone users early this year after it began a trial in December.

The California-based Internet company's move into the Chinese mobile Internet market comes as it struggles to wrest market share from local Web-search leader, Baidu. Google expects more people to access the Internet through their mobile phones in coming years.

The company said in a statement Thursday that China Mobile's users will be able to access Google's search engine through the mobile carrier's Internet service, Monternet.

China Mobile's corporate communications manager, Lei Yu, confirmed that both companies will work together on Internet search services, but declined to comment on how the co-operation would affect the carrier's business.

China Mobile is the largest mobile carrier in the country, with 296.41 million users at the end of November. China has the world's largest mobile-phone market, with 455 million users at the end of November, according to the Ministry of Information Industry.

China is also the second-largest Internet market after the U.S. with 132 million users at the end of 2006, Xinhua News Agency reported last month, citing ministry data.

The deal is Google's latest move in the Asian market.

Last month, Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom and Google signed an agreement to provide an embedded Web search service on the Taiwanese carrier's mobile phones from this month.

Google Vice President Lee Kai-Fu said at the time mobile search is in its early stages and doesn't constitute a large part of the company's revenue, but added: "We're optimistic on the outlook because in the future the number of mobile phone users will exceed those of computer users."

Earlier Thursday, state-owned China Daily reported that Google will buy a stake in Shenzhen-based peer-to-peer file sharing network operator Xunlei Network Technology Ltd., citing Xunlei spokesman Jackson Zhang.

Pedro "K2" Macêdo

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