China Mobile, Xinhua launch Chinese search engine

The new search engine called Panguso will be expanded to mobile phones

China Mobile and China's state-run Xinhua News Agency have launched a new search engine at Panguso.com that will also tap the country's growing mobile Internet market.

Panguso operates in Chinese. It's development was announced in August when China Mobile and Xinhua said they had signed an agreement to develop an Internet search engine company. The search service will now be expanded to mobile phones, according to a Xinhua News Agency report.

China currently has 457 million Internet users, according to the latest official count. About 303 million of those users go online via their mobile phones. China Mobile is the country's largest mobile carrier with nearly 590 million customers.

The Chinese name of the search engine can be translated as the "God of search." Pangu was the creator of the universe, according to Chinese mythology.

Panguso will compete against other more popular Internet search engines. The China-based Baidu currently has a 75.5 percent share of the country's search engine market, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. Google is a distant second with a market share at 19.6 percent.

China's mobile Internet search market, however, has yet to produce a clear dominant winner. While Baidu has the largest share, it controls only 36.1 percent of the market, according to Analysys International. Google is ranked fourth, with an 11 percent market share.

Both China Mobile and Xinhua are linked to the Chinese government.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service

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