Google shuts shopping search service in China

Search giant said the service did not produce the impact as expected, and the closure comes three months after it also shut its China-only music download service.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Google has pulled the plug on its shopping search engine in China, three months after it did the same with its music download service in the country.

The U.S. Web giant said the service is closed effective Dec. 12. It decided to do so in order to better optimize resources, according to a blog post Wednesday.

The shopping search service in China was intended to be a bridge between consumers, and retailers and traders, but the level of impact did not meet the company's expectations, Google said. The company will instead focus on mobile advertising with AdMob, mobile and desktop display advertising, and export-oriented search advertising, which will help Chinese companies thrive on the Internet.

Google remains committed to helping Chinese businessmen and traders use Google Shopping to reach consumers in other markets around the world, it added.

Its shopping search service, which was launched in 2009, competed with domestic rivals such as etao.com by Alibaba, Bloomberg reported. Wallace Cheung, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Credit Suisse, said in the report Google ought to focus on non-search business in China since it "posed no competition to Alibaba from day one".

Other services like AdMob and mobile and desktop display are "good businesses [because these are] without any concern about their government relationship", Cheung added.

Google similarly shuttered its Chinese music download service in September, saying the impact of the product was not as great as it expected.

Both the shopping search and music download services, among others from Google, continued to be available in China even after the Web giant had a fallout with the Chinese government in 2010 for refusing to comply with the Chinese government's regulations on censoring search results. It moved its servers and domain name from China to Hong Kong.

Despite its limited presence in the Web search space in China, Google in October said it plans to increase mobile advertising presence in the country as more people use mobile handsets to access the Web.

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