Google pulls plug on 2 sites, ends support for Tianya forum website

09:25, July 21, 2010      

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Google Inc said on Tuesday it will shut down two unpopular Chinese online services and end technical support for a Chinese-language forum website.

The online giant made the announcement in a posting on its Chinese-language site on Tuesday.

The reshuffle at the US search engine comes just 10 days after it won government approval to continue running its Chinese website.

The Google plan encompasses closure of a self-developed website ranking page and a lifestyle site in China. The decision was made because of "lower-than-expected demand", according to the posting.

Google will also discontinue technical support for two services for local partner Tianya.cn this week, the firm said.

Tianya.cn utilizes Google's technologies to power some of its website functions.

According to the statement, Tuesday's changes were spurred on by consumer demand.

"We have always been trying to develop new products and services for our users. Some enjoyed great success while others failed," the posting said.

"In China, the website ranking page and lifestyle site were not welcomed by our users, that's why we decided to shut them down."

The online statement indicated no other Google services in China would be disrupted.

Google spokeswoman Jessica Powell declined to elaborate on Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported, adding that the California-based firm is in the process of winding down its cooperation with Tianya.

Industry watchers say the search giant's decision makes financial sense.

"It's reasonable for Google to shrink its services as the two (services) didn't contribute much to its bottom line," yet they ate up manpower and capital, said Li Zhi, an analyst with domestic research firm Analysys International.

Google China's headquarters in Zhongguancun, Beijing. Nelson Ching / Bloomberg

She added that the move would not have a big impact on Google's market share in China given the limited influence of the two services.

Google's announcement comes after the company said on July 10 that it had its Internet Content Provider (ICP) license renewed in China, ending a stand-off with Chinese authorities that lasted several weeks.

By the end of last month, Google stopped automatically redirecting users from its Chinese site to its Hong Kong website, but still offered services such as music and mapping on Google.cn.

Google's spokesperson Marsha Wang told China Daily in an interview last week that the company will not seek to resume the auto-redirecting strategy, as the approach proved unacceptable to the government.

Zhang Feng, director of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's Telecoms Development Department, said at a news conference on Tuesday that Google has promised to "obey Chinese law" and will avoid linking to material deemed a threat to national security or social stability.

That agreement, Ministry of Industrial and Information Technology's Zhang said, got Google the green light from the government to renew its Internet license.

During its dispute with Chinese government authorities, Google's search-engine market share dropped to 30.9 percent in the first quarter from 35.6 percent three months earlier.

Source:China Daily

(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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