Google Closes Music Search Business in China
Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced today that it is shutting down its free music search service in China. The service, which was the first licensed music search service in China, was launched in 2009 in partnership with Top100.cn.
Google's music service in China was unique in that it allowed users in China to legally download and share licensed music for free. Google's main competition in the music search business in China, Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU), has been criticized by the music industry for allowing users to link to third-party providers of unlicensed music.
In a comment on Google's Chinese language blog based in Hong Kong, Senior Engineering Director Dr. Boon-lock Yeo wrote, “The impact of this product is not as great as we expected, so we decided to shift resources to other products.” Google did not provide any revenue or profit figures for its China music search service.
The decision to terminate the music search service comes after Google's decision to close its China web search service in 2010 after refusing to follow Chinese government censorship rules. Despite this, Google was still the number two search engine in China with a market share of 15.7% in the second quarter of 2012, according to market research firm Analysys International.
Top100.cn says it will continue to provide free music search and downloads to Internet users in China but Google's departure will be a major blow since Google drives most of the traffic to the Top100.cn website.
In the meantime, Baidu, the leading Internet search engine in China with a 78.6% market share in the second quarter of 2012 according to Analysys International, has reminded users that it will continue to provide its music search service as usual.
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