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.
“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.