Google Says It’ll End Support for Some China Services (Update1)

Google Inc. said it will end technical support for two online services in China that it used to offer with local partner Tianya.cn as cooperation between the two companies is being wound down.

Google will stop support for the two Tianya social- networking services this week, according to a posting today on the U.S. company’s Chinese blog page. In addition, Google will close a self-developed website ranking page and a lifestyle site in China because of lower-than-expected demand, it said.

“It’s now a suitable opportunity” for Google to review its engineering team to allow them to focus on other new and existing products, according to the blog posting. The Mountain View, California-based company this month won renewal of its Internet license in China, defusing a censorship row with regulators of the world’s biggest online market.

“We are in the process of winding down our cooperation with Tianya,” Google spokeswoman Jessica Powell said in an e- mail today. In 2007, Google began offering the Tianya services after investing an undisclosed amount in the Chinese partner.

The renewal of the Internet license will help lift the confidence of advertisers in Google, Nelly Jin, an analyst at iResearch, said yesterday. The Shanghai-based research company has an “optimistic” outlook on Google’s operations in China.

Google had 27.3 percent of China’s search-engine market in the second quarter, declining from 29.5 percent three months earlier, iResearch said yesterday. Rival Baidu Inc.’s share rose to 70.8 percent from 67.8 percent, according to iResearch.

Uncertainty about Google’s Chinese operations after the censorship dispute with the government had affected the company’s business in China, according to iResearch’s Jin.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Lee in Hong Kong at wlee37@bloomberg.net

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