US search engine giants Yahoo! and Google seem to be duking it out for a dominant position in the world's most populous country by launching new services and partnering with local companies.
Yahoo! launched a search engine portal, Yisou.com, in Beijing on Monday. It is the first time the company has registered a new website for its search engine service in a country outside the United States.
"Many things that we did not do in any other Yahoo! markets were done in China. These moves show our strong commitment to this market," said David Lu, deputy managing director of Yahoo!'s North Asian operations.
The search engine portal has a clean and simple interface similar to professional search engine service providers such as Google and the Chinese firm Baidu.com.
Yahoo! will relocate about 1,000 search engine servers from the United States to China next month. They will be used to provide services for Chinese users around the world.
Lu said that Yahoo! would not focus on short-term returns from Yahoo! China and the new services.
Zhou Hongyi, president of Yahoo! China, said he believes that the launch of the new search portal will change the competition scenario in the country. "If we say the competition in China was mainly between Google and Baidu before, in the future it will be between the two alliances: Yahoo!-3721 versus Google-Baidu."
Last year, Yahoo! acquired Hong Kong-based 3721 Network Software, which controls Beijing 3721, for US$120 million.
Google, which has not had a physical presence in China, last week invested a reported US$10 million in Baidu, a major Chinese search engine. Participation of Yahoo! and Google is expected to have a significant impact on the search engine market because of their huge capital and rich experience in the field.
(China Daily June 22, 2004)