Google Takes Aim At China’s Mobile Market
We’ve discussed cultural differences, censorship, and the lack of a home field advantage – these have all posed challenges to Google in China. It’s now becoming clear that Google will also need to overcome its unfamiliarity with the mobile market to succeed in this country.
Internet access is often easier and cheaper to get through cell phones, and Kai-Fu Lee, the president of Google China, told Reuters, “These mobile users have very different usage patterns from the American users. Most Chinese users who touch mobile Internet will have no PC at all.”
A more cynical person might interpret that comment as an excuse – Google China hasn’t exactly delivered results that Sergey, Larry, and Eric Schmidt can be proud of. But Lee appears to have been merely stating facts, as he also added, “China has a large mobile opportunity, with so many mobile users who will become mobile Internet users in the next few years as 3G and other technologies become pervasive . . . . That requires thinking from ground zero on how to design products that fit their needs.”
Lee had little – or, more accurately, nothing – else to say in regards to timelines or product specs, but it looks like this’ll be one more way in which Google tries to get a toehold in China. If it’s successful, Google’s mobile efforts in America might well follow suit.