Google to Offer Free Downloads in China

To compete with dominant search engine Baidu, Google will begin offering a downloads search in China. From David Barboza of the New York Times:

Google executives said they were responding to the phenomenal popularity of free music downloads in China, one of the few markets where the company lags, by forming an alliance with the music industry, including Sony, Universal Music and Warner Music.

The search engine company hopes the demand for music downloads will raise Google’s profile in China, which has already overtaken the United States as the world’s biggest Internet market with nearly 300 million users, and also help the company gain market share against its chief rival here, Baidu, the nation’s dominant search engine.

“This is a huge leap of faith for us,” Kai-fu Lee, the president of Google Greater China, said in a telephone interview Monday. “We hope this will move the landscape to a legal model.”

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