Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc., which moved its Chinese search-engine service offshore last year to avoid the country’s online censorship rules, said it added a new service to collect group-buying deals in the Asian nation.
The experimental service, called Shihui, started yesterday and provides information on group discounts that is supplied by more than 100 partner sites, Taj Meadows, a Tokyo-based Google spokesman, said in a phone interview today. Shihui can be translated as “a timely benefit.”
“Shihui is in the early stages of development and we’ll be working closely with our partners to see what features drive the best traffic to their sites and help users find the offers that are most valuable to them,” Meadows said.
Google has been losing market share in China’s search market to Baidu Inc. since January 2010, when the Mountain View, California-based company said it was no longer willing to comply with China’s requirements for websites to self-censor content. Two months later, Google redirected Chinese users to an unfiltered site in Hong Kong.
Google’s share of China’s search market fell to 19 percent in the second quarter of this year, from a peak of 36 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to data from Analysys International, a research firm in Beijing.
The Shihui page can be sorted by types of products including food, hotels, entertainment and beauty products, as well as by group-buying site. Providers listed at the top of the page include Groupon Inc.’s China venture Gaopeng.com and local rivals such as Lashou.com, Manzuo and Tuanbaowang.
Google’s Internet license, which must be reviewed annually, was approved by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology earlier this month.
--Edmond Lococo. Editors: Garry Smith, Terje Langeland
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