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Google to Shut Down Shopping Search Function in China Today

Google Inc. (GOOG), which pulled its search engine from China in 2010, will shutter its shopping service in the nation today, the second time in three months it withdrew a product from the world’s largest Internet market.

The service will be ended because it “was not providing businesses with the level of impact we had hoped,” the company said in an e-mailed statement today.

Google’s service competed against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s largest e-commerce company, which runs a shopping search engine called etao.com. The shuttering by the Mountain View, California-based company follows the Sept. 21 announcement that ended its three-year-old Google Music Search service in China. Google will focus on advertising services for mobile applications, desktop display, and export-oriented search, it said today.

“Google should focus on non-search business,” in China, said Wallace Cheung, a Hong Kong-based analyst with Credit Suisse. “They posed no competition to Alibaba from day one. AdMob and mobile/desktop display are good businesses for Google, without any concern about their government relationship.”

Google said in January 2010 it was no longer willing to comply with Chinese government regulations to self-censor Web content and began redirecting search-engine users in China to a Hong Kong-based site. The company’s China-based landing page still offers translation services and an experimental group deal aggregating service.

“We’ve never been afraid to try big, bold things, and that won’t change,” Google said in the statement announcing the closure of the shopping search service. “By targeting our resources more effectively on our core mobile, display, and export ads products, we can better help Chinese businesses grow and thrive on the Web.”

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Edmond Lococo in Beijing at elococo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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