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Google closes second mainland service

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 December, 2012, 3:34am

Google, which pulled its search engine from China in 2010, closed its shopping service in the nation yesterday, the second time in three months it has withdrawn a product from the world's largest internet market.

The company said in a statement the service "was not providing businesses with the level of impact we had hoped".

Google's shopping service competed against e-commerce giant Alibaba Group's etao.com and online portal NetEase's youdao.com.

In September, the firm also ended its three-year-old Google Music Search service in China.

Google would focus on advertising services for mobile applications, desktop display and export-oriented search, it said.

"Google's shopping search engine was one of the earliest players in the China market, but it has remained relatively unknown compared to its rivals," said Chen Shousong of Beijing-based internet marketing consultant Analysts International.

Chen said shopping search engine services demanded significant investment and a long period to establish a database.

"It's difficult to show commercial value with this service in the short term. It's no surprise that Google would like to close it down if it plans to scale down its business in the country," he said.

Wallace Cheung, a Hong Kong-based analyst with Credit Suisse, believes Google should focus on non-search businesses.

"They posed no competition to Alibaba from Day One. AdMob and mobile/desktop display are good businesses for Google, independent of their relationship with the government," Cheung said.

Google will continue to provide Chinese-language services through its merchant centre.

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