Google shuts down shopping service for China

In September, Google also closed its free music service in the country

Google has shut down its online shopping service in China, further slimming down its product portfolio for the country after it pulled the plug on its free music service back in September.

The Internet giant said it closed the site on Wednesday, and it no longer appears as a link on the company's Google.cn website.

"Shopping in China was not providing businesses with the level of impact we had hoped, so we will be sunsetting it in order to focus on the products that do," the company said in a statement. Google will instead devote more resources to its advertising services for apps and search, and connecting Chinese suppliers with overseas customers with tools including its Global Market Finder.

The company's Internet presence in the country has steadily declined since 2010 when it shut down its China-based search engine after clashing with local authorities over online censorship. Since then, access to Google's sites has been increasingly undermined and slowed by China's Internet censors, which try and filter out sensitive or anti-government sites. Last month, all of Google sites were briefly blocked in the country.

"Talking with Internet and mobile Internet users, we didn't run into many who were particularly familiar with Google's shopping service," said Mark Natkin, managing director for Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting. "In many cases, many people were not even aware it existed."

In September, Google shut down its free music service in China as it was not very popular. The popularity of Google search has also fallen, and the service currently has a 5 percent share of the Chinese market, according to data analytics site CNZZ.com.

Outside of China, Google has also been closing down other services in order to shift resources to more popular products. In August, the company said it made changes to around 50 products in the past year.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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