Google's senior officials have claimed revenue gains in China, the world's largest Internet market, as the world's dominant search engine seeks to retain confidence from its partners after mulling a pull-out from Chinese mainland in 2010 March. In fact, Google has never really left the Chinese market.
Speaking at a meeting over Google's 2011 Partner Day held in Beijing earlier in September, Google China vice president John Liu said that Google China revenues are steadily growing quarter on quarter.
He said Google has currently reached 96% of China's 485 million netizens, with partners now passing 100,000 and daily ad displays topping 6 billion. According to Wang Ying, director of Google Greater China and Korea business cooperation, 97% of China's top 100 advertisers have displayed their ads on Google.
Google reported record high revenues of $9.03 billion for the second quarter of 2011, up by 32% compared with the same period last year. But its financial performance in China during this period is still not specified.
Liu stopped short of going into details about the group's revenues in China since March 2010, when Google stopped its google.cn search service on the Chinese mainland and redirected traffic to its Hong Kong site-google.hk.
But he did confirm gains, which he attributed to Google's focus on users' experiences rather than its market share in China, which studies show was left far behind by its Chinese rival Baidu.
According to a quarterly report released by Beijing-based market research company Enfodesk, Baidu claimed 75.9% of China's search share in the second quarter of 2011, while Google secured only 18.9% of overall searches.
The huge gap in second-quarter figures has been reaffirmed by statistics from an independent Chinese consulting firm IResearch, which put Baidu's search market share in China at 76.8% and Google's at 20.4% for the same period.
And the Chinese-language search tycoon is powering ahead.
In its latest move, Baidu earlier this month unveiled a revamped search engine homepage, which brings web apps, bookmarks, and trends for registered users to pick and create unique frontpages of their own. And more fierce battles could be looming ahead as the two compete for a growing Internet population, who are also being lured away by ever-emerging new challengers in the international search arena.