Google Inc and Chinese software company Kingsoft have announced a co-branding initiative to tap China's booming online market by launching a Web-based dictionary.
The new application, developed by the two firms, enables users to utilize Google's translation service on Kingsoft's popular English-Chinese dictionary software PowerWord, which has an estimated user base of 30 million.
Google will also embed its Web search and photo search services in the new dictionary service that will carry both Kingsoft and Google logos, and the two companies will share the online ads revenue from the traffic generated by users of the service, according to Google.
The alliance with Kingsoft marks a new approach by Google to crack the Chinese market, where smaller local players are doing better than major international giants Yahoo! and eBay. Google has been lagging behind Baidu.com in terms of online ad sales and customer preference. Baidu now controls over two-thirds of the online search market in China.
Lee Kaifu, president of Google's China operation, refused to predict how much revenue or new traffic will the new service generate. But he said the boost provided by the new service will be significant considering the popularity of Kingsoft's PowerWord software.
Analysts believe the tie-up with Kingsoft could help expand Google's user base in China and expect the firm to add more applications into the product and even make it a software client similar to Tencent's QQ or Baidu's newly launched instant message software Baidu Hi.
Since last year, Google has been striving to turn itself into a more localized company by partnering Chinese companies including China Mobile, China Telecom and Sina.com. It has also bought stakes in local websites such as the social-networking company Tianya Internet Technology Ltd.
In the first quarter of this year, Google's market share in China grew from 25.9 percent in the previous quarter to 26.8 percent, according to domestic research firm Analysys International. Baidu's market share also increased 0.6 percentage points to 60.7 percent during the same period.
The tie-up with Google could help generate a new revenue stream for Kingsoft, which has been struggling with slowing software sales.
(China Daily May 9, 2008)