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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Google Losing Ground in China

A year after Google Inc. moved its search services out of China, the Internet giant is struggling to maintain traction on a range of businesses in the country despite its executives' desire to keep growing in the wake of a feud with the Chinese government. Chinese online media company Sina Corp. said this week that it dropped Google's Web search service from its popular portal site.

At the same time, Google's Gmail free email service has become difficult to use in China; the company blames stepped up efforts by censors to disrupt Gmail access.

The developments are the latest signs that significant parts of Google's business in China, home to more than 450 million Internet users, have been unraveling since last March. The company's share of search market revenue in China dropped to 19.6% last quarter from 35.6% a year earlier.

Many Google users in China lament that products like Gmail are now harder to use—especially in recent weeks as Chinese authorities have stepped up controls in the wake of online threats to hold "Jasmine Revolution" protests in China.

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