Google forced to push image in China

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Google forced to push image in China

Google is planning a huge marketing push in China, according to Google China president Lee Kai-fu.

Market share data shows Google trailing local rival Baidu by a wide margin.

Google is unique among major consumer technology companies in avoiding traditional advertising and promotional channels, relying mostly on word of mouth and the media to spread news of its products.

"Google has not done any marketing until now," said Lee. "But in China there are many users who are new to the internet, and many other name-brand search engines."

Lee maintained that Google's service is better than its competitors', but that consumers need to be encouraged to try it.

The executive was speaking at a seminar hosted by China IntelliConsulting Corporation, which reported recently that 69.5 percent of Chinese surfers named Baidu as their favourite search engine, with 23 percent naming Google.

Google's share of the Chinese market has increased 1.4 percent over the past six months, slightly ahead of Baidu's rise of 0.5 percent, according to the survey.

CIC researchers spoke to internet users in China's three largest cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Lee declined to provide target numbers for Google's future market share in China, claiming that changing users' choices requires time and is difficult to predict.

Other successful international internet firms, such as Yahoo, eBay and MySpace, have chosen to cede control of their Chinese operations to local partners in the hope that this will help them get more in tune with local market requirements.

While Google has begun working closely with local firms in the past year, it retains full control of Google China.
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