Google Competing for Mobile Search in China

The Asia Times had an interesting article last week about Google's travails attempting to replicate the success they have had elsewhere in the world as the dominant search engine.  A big part of their plan is to focus on mobile search, and the article has some interesting bits on the growth of mobile in China:

China didn't introduce 3G mobile-phone technology until the start of this year, and companies such as Baidu and US-based Google are looking to cash in as the world's biggest mobile phone market switches to the faster technology.

China had more than 695 million mobile users at the end of June, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

"As 3G starts in China, mobile Internet will be an explosive opportunity," said Lee Kaifu, president of Google Greater China. That applies across the spectrum of those involved in the business - from phone makers to application developers, to service providers. "For example, Beijing is often choked with traffic. For people who are driving, a real-time traffic map of the city available on mobile phone will be very useful."

Lee envisions a day when more people will be using cellphones than computers to go online in China. At the end of June, about half of the 338 million Internet users in China, or 155 million, have been surfing the net with their phones, said researcher China Internet Network Information Center .

"Right now, the Internet traffic from mobile phones is about one-twentieth of that from computers in China. But mobile Internet traffic can catch up quickly once the infrastructure is ready," said Lee.

Read the whole article here-- most of the rest is about competition between Baidu and Google.  Interesting stuff.