Backlash against Google in China gains momentum

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Backlash against Google in China gains momentum

Ian Grant

Google is starting to suffer a backlash to its decision to shift its Chinese search engine to uncensored servers in Hong Kong.

China Unicom, the country's second-largest mobile operator, said it will remove Google's search engine from its new Android handsets, leaving the choice of search engines to install to the phones' makers, the Financial Times reported.

The BBC reported TOM Online, an internet and mobile company run by Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong's wealthiest man, would stop using Google.

Comments left on Chinese website sina.com. cn said "Google, out of China" and "Go away, we have Baidu", the broadcaster said.

Baidu is a native Chinese search engine. It now holds about 65% of the Chinese search engine market, with Google 30%.

Paul Wuh, a Hong Kong analyst with Samsung Securities told Business Week he expected Baidu to grab 90% of the market within two years. Its nearest competitor may be Alibaba, which is 40% owned by Yahoo.

If China Mobile follows Unicom's decision to ban Google from its handsets, Google could find it very hard to re-enter China, said analysts. The world's biggest mobile network operators offers more than a dozen smartphones based on Android and include Google as a search option.

According to official figures, China has 745 million mobile users and 384 million internet users.


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