CHINA / National

Google unveils 'Gu Ge' to get close to Chinese
Updated: 2006-04-13 11:11

Google Inc. has given itself a Chinese name, "Gu Ge", which means "song of the harvest of grain, to capture more users.

The name was unveiled when the Internet search giant based in the United States opened its engineering centre in Beijing on Wednesday.

Trying to make it easier for Chinese people to use its services, Google said it would also go by the name Gu Ge.

It is the first time Google, which lags behind in China's Web search market, has given itself a new name in another language, China Daily reported on Thursday.

"Our No 1 goal here by far is to serve Chinese users, who want useful information on the Internet," Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive officer, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

China overtook the United States as the world's largest Internet market in terms of users last week and will "continue to lead the world for many, many, many years," Schmidt said.

The centre has recruited about 80 engineering graduates in China, 15 from Google's headquarters in the Silicon Valley, California and five top search scientists from around the world, the newspaper said.

"Most of our investment is in people," said Schmidt, adding the number of employees will soon grow to "a few thousand" in coming several years.

Google already has another engineering institute in Taipei, but it aims to have increased, larger research facilities in Beijing, Shanghai, and other cities in China.

Google's major local competitor Baidu, which is listed on the NASDAQ with Google as a small investor, also got its name from a traditional Chinese poem.

The idea behind using a Chinese name helps the company reach more Chinese users, many of whom do not know English and have difficulties pronouncing the name, which prevents them from knowing and using the search engine, the newspaper said.

According to the professional Internet research firm Shanghai iResearch, revenue of the Web search market in 2005 was 1.04 billion yuan (US$129 million), 82 per cent higher than in 2004.


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