Don't call it a comeback: Google China is growing

Don't call it a comeback: Google China is growing

Summary: Google's Daniel Alegre says that Google China is alive and thriving, but the reality is that Baidu is still in the lead.

TOPICS: Google

Despite Google's past disagreements with Chinese authorities, Google China is alive and in growth mode, at least according to Daniel Alegre, president of the company’s Asia-Pacific segment.

The word comes from a Bloomberg report, where Alegre claims that it's less that Google China is making a comeback so much as it is that it's been there for years.

“We never left China, and we continue to believe in the market. It’s a very vibrant Internet market. We have some of the best employees at Google and we continue to grow not only our revenue but also our headcount in the country," Alegre told Bloomberg.

Alegre says Google's momentum in China will largely be spurred by its "non-sensitive" advertising business on the mobile and desktop, as opposed to potentially sticky wickets like the rumored opening of the Google Android Market to Chinese customers. While Google undoubtedly knows that running an app store in China would be lucrative, it seems a sound assumption that the search giant would rather not anger its supporters by changing its open listing policies just to meet state censor-imposed app review requirements.

So refocusing on building its Chinese revenue by way of search-driven advertising only makes sense, especially given that it's lost significant market share in that area to regional rival Baidu. With China still standing as the most populous Internet market, Google definitely wants the largest slice of that pie.

But despite Alegre's optimism and bold claims, we've heard it all before. And when it comes to China, Google finds itself in one of those rare situations where it's the underdog.

Topic: Google

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  • RE: Don't call it a comeback: Google China is growing

    Google said knock you out!
  • RE: Don't call it a comeback: Google China is growing

    How about Google Docs, are they available or still blocked in China.
  • RE: Don't call it a comeback: Google China is growing

    Reality check. Again. Westerners are so hopeful.

    To restate the painfully obvious, China is a persistently unique market. The combination of cultural engineering/repression, pervasive government intervention, over-the-top nationalism, high levels of individual pride and a few other rather significant aspects to their environment, will support a China-first strategy for decades. And while only a few Western Internet companies have made a dent there, think about how many Chinese Internet companies have had success outside of that great wall of theirs. (Actually, if anyone *can* name a couple, please respond...).

    These dynamics create an enormous challenge for anyone - with even massive resources; and maybe even because of them. Seems like the best approach is one a Google just wouldn't be able to stomach: find a partner, brand it Chinese and run it from behind the curtain.

    The alternative is to set up shop and embrace the very-long-term perspective of the country and ... just wait.