We mentioned last week that Google was planning to increase its stake in China. This week, they’ve already premiered several Chinese ventures including social networking and blog search.
Google announced today that they’ve acquired a stake in Tianya.cn, a Chinese social networking site, as reported by Reuters. While their last social networking venture failed just about everywhere except Brazil, Google’s foray into China’s social networking scene may or may not impact their 22.8% market share, a distant second to dominant Chinese search engine Baidu (58.1% market share).
Reuters also reports that “In another move to diversify its platform in China, Google . . . has also won preliminary approval from Beijing for a license to provide Internet content in the country.” Google plans to use this to provide maps and online word processing.
Google appears to be taking this acquisition seriously. As part of Tianya, Google premiered today a Google-Answers-like service named “Wenda” (meaning ‘ask and answer’) and what appears to be a discussion board service named Laiba (meaning ‘come here’). In a statement to Google Blogoscoped, Google described Laiba as “an online community where people can connect with friends and share content.”
Finally, Google also premiered a Chinese blog search today, located at blogsearch.google.cn. Google Blogoscoped reports, “As other Google offerings in China, this one is self-censored (on some searches, like a search for “censorship”, the bottom of the page in italics disclaims that some search results are not shown in compliance with local laws, regulations and policies).”