Internet

The emperor's new crown jewel

Peter Morris in Asia Times Online asks: Will China be Google's crown jewel?

"With growth in China's advertising market expected to reach 18.3 percent this year, Google has jumped on the bandwagon with the introduction of its new Chinese AdWords advertising service. The service, which began operating last Wednesday, gives advertisers the chance to bid for ad placement on pages linked to keyword queries, and will be offered in both simplified Chinese characters (used in mainland China) and traditional Chinese, which is still used in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Similar to Google's English-language version, the ads will then automatically appear alongside search results. Google anticipates that Chinese AdWords will substantially increase the visibility of advertisers in China's crowded marketplace.

Google's AdWords will undoubtedly pose a threat to Chinese search engines, which rely on pop-up advertising and fee-based advertising for revenues, which means that companies will get listed higher on search results if they pay more."

Threat? Well maybe, but there is one little problem: to be a real rival to Chinese search engines, Google will have to be able to bill easily in local currency. Which will mean either operating locally or having a reliable network of agents. Not so easy, no matter how good the product is.

Crown jewel? Well, have a look at this chart showing languages used to search Google. It was ripped from Google's zeitgeist page.

jan04_lang.gif

Chinese language searches are still outnumbered by English, German, Japanese, Spanish and French. It's going to be a while before the crown jewel is anything more than a shiny rock.

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