BEIJING, Jan. 25 -- Online search engine leader Google Inc. announced on Wednesday that it is officially launching its services in China.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company planned to
roll out a new version of its search engine bearing China's Web suffix ".cn," on
Wednesday. A Chinese-language version of Google's search engine has previously
been available through the company's dot-com address in the United States.
By creating a unique address for China, Google hopes to make its search
engine more widely available and easier to use in the world's most populous
China already has more than 100 million Web surfers
and the audience is expected to swell substantially ¡ª an alluring prospect for
Google as it tries to boost its already rapidly rising profits.
Baidu.com Inc., a Beijing-based company in which
Google owns a 2.6 percent stake, currently runs China's most popular search
engine. But a recent Keynote Systems survey of China's Internet preferences
concluded that Baidu remains vulnerable to challenges from Google and Yahoo Inc.
"We firmly believe, with our culture of innovation,
Google can make meaningful and positive contributions to the already impressive
pace of development in China," said Andrew McLaughlin, Google's senior policy
Initially, Google's Chinese service will be limited
to searching Web pages and images. The company also will provide local search
results and a special edition of its news service.