Last updated: January 12, 2012 - 9:17am
Google, which pulled its Web-search engine out of mainland China two years ago after a confrontation with Chinese authorities over censorship, has renewed its push to expand there, in an acknowledgment that it can't afford to miss out on the world's biggest Internet market.
The search giant is hiring more engineers, salespeople and product managers in China and working to introduce new services for Chinese consumers, according to Daniel Alegre, Google's top executive in Asia. In particular, Google is aiming to capitalize on its fast-growing Android operating system for mobile devices, online-advertising and product-search services to grow in China, Mr. Alegre said in an interview. One goal, he said, is to introduce its Android Market, which offers thousands of mobile applications to users of Android-powered smartphones and tablets but isn't available in China. The company also is trying to win over Chinese consumers with services that don't require official censorship, such as Shihui, which launched in September to help people search among Chinese sites offering discounts at local stores. Google is also working to beef up its product-search service to help consumers find goods from online retailers.