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Google loses China engineering executive to Baidu
Published on: 2010-04-20
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April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. lost an engineering executive in China to main rival Baidu Inc., undermining the U.S. company’s plans to keep its local research operations after a standoff with the Chinese government over Web censorship.

Baidu hired Wang Jin as vice-president of engineering, Victor Tseng, spokesman at China’s biggest search engine, said in an e-mail today. Wang was engineering director at Google before quitting this month, Google spokeswoman Marsha Wang said.

Google last month said it plans to retain research and sales operations in China, even as a decision to stop self- censoring its Chinese search service escalated a row with regulators in the world’s biggest Internet market by users. Baidu, based in Beijing, and other Chinese Internet operators will gain business from Google as the fallout spreads, analysts and advertising executives have said.

“Google will find it increasingly difficult to retain its employees in China as its operations there gradually get scaled down,” said Jake Li, who rates Baidu shares “buy” at Guotai Junan Securities in Shenzhen. “Google’s engineering staff is one of its biggest assets, and is highly valued by other Chinese Internet companies.”

Google’s decision last month to sidestep Chinese censors by redirecting users of the Google.cn service to the company’s Hong Kong site prompted advertisers including Zenith Optimedia’s China Chief Executive Officer Steven Chang to consider switching to rivals. Google’s move was effectively a pullout from China and will undermine its search service to Chinese users, Chang said last month.

Tom Online Inc., a Chinese Internet portal controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing, last month ended an agreement to use the Mountain View, California-based company’s search services. Motorola Inc. said last month it’s dropped Google’s search engine from one of its phones in China.

Baidu accounted for 58.6 percent of China’s online search market in the fourth quarter, compared with 35.6 percent for Google, according to research company Analysys International.

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