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Google considers blitz of market in mainland

(Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2006-03-19 08:35
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Google Inc derived its name from the play of the mathematical term "Googol," which means the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.

But its endearing origins are causing some confusion in China's mainland.

Relatively less known in China, it is the No. 2 search engine after Baidu, Google will embark on a drive to promote itself, when an extra letter "o" could open or shut the doors to the 100 million Internet users in the mainland.

The company is looking into ways to market itself in the mainland, including organizing roadshows to tell potential users how to spell its name.

Shanghai Daily understands that part of the confusion arises from the number of o's in the word Google.

"While Google is not new in the West, many users in China are still unfamiliar with us," said Zhou Shaoning, Google's president of sales and business development, yesterday after the Search Engine Strategies Conference and Expo in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province.

Google set up its China headquarters in Beijing last month. Led by Lee Kai-Fu, a former vice president of US software giant Microsoft, Google's headquarters will house a research and development center scheduled to open in the third quarter of this year.

Google plans to beef up its mainland team to about 300 employees by year end. It also plans more products that will be unique to mainland users, Zhou said yesterday.

He said that he sees opportunities in the small and medium enterprise market, which is still "underserved."

There are 25 million SMEs in China, of which only 6 percent have gone online, he said.

"Most companies have not realized the power of search engines. Our partners will go out and educate them to show them the power of Internet marketing" Zhou said at the conference earlier.

SMEs are often the most lacking in terms of resources and technology know-how. "We can help China reach the world," he said. The search sector is "on the edge of major growth" as more people make decisions from the Web rather than the TV, he said.