Google declared its interest in the Chinese search market with a highly publicized purchase of shares in Baidu.com in 2004. Since then, it appears the search giant has changed strategic direction and decided to go it alone.
Google recently sold off its stake in Baidu, China’s dominant search engine, to pursue its own interests. The focus will be to increase the profile and market share of Google’s core site within the rapidly expanding Chinese search market.
Baidu and Google both hold strong positions in the Chinese search market, with Baidu holding the ascendency by a considerable margin (read our article on the Chinese search market for details).
Considering all the issues that Google has had with censorship and government policy in China, the sale of their 749,625 shares (worth over $60 million) in Baidu.com seems a little unexpected. Admittedly a 2% stake in a company is hardly a controlling share, so the sale simply confirms their intentions to focus internally.
“…It has always been our goal to grow our own successful business in China and we are very focused on that.” said a spokeswoman from Google.
While there’s been no conjecture on how Google plans to compete with Baidu, a spokeswoman suggested they would rather announce developments than speculate. It could be a case of Google keeping its cards close to its chest. With the value and potential that the Chinese market offers, watch this space closely as Google and Baidu face-off.
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