Internet search giant Google is expanding in the mainland market, but continues to keep quiet about its strategy for turning its widespread popularity in China into advertising revenue. Last week, the United States company unveiled a beta version of its desktop search application that uses simplified Chinese characters. It also released beta versions for traditional Chinese characters and the Korean language. Google accounts for about 30 per cent of mainland search inquiries but derives little revenue from China's internet search advertising market. Baidu - of which Google owns a small stake - accounts for 48 per cent of search inquiries and is preparing a Nasdaq listing. Web advertising in China is expected to generate US$277 million in sales next year. Industry watchers believe Google could increase its stake in Baidu or set up sales operations in China on its own to capitalise on its popularity. 'China is two years behind mature markets such as the US,' Asia Pacific products manager James Mi said. 'The internet search market is still young and we see very strong growth. We will participate in it and hopefully the market will grow and become more mature.' The beta version of the desktop search software allows users to scan e-mails, Word and Excel files, images and words buried in the titles of music files or subtitles of video footage. 'A lot of the younger generation is looking for entertainment and multimedia-rich content,' Mr Mi said. Google is confident it can fend off competition from homegrown technologies such as Zhongsou's NetPig service. 'We think we are very strong because of the size of our software team and the ability of our technology to fragment words correctly,' Mr Mi said.