It's over a week since Google rerouted its China operations to Hong Kong after a spat with the government here, but users in the mainland continue to log
on to Google.com.hk, belying predictions that they would shift to home-grown search engine 'Baidu'.
After the US-based Google, the world's popular search engine, began rerouting mainland traffic to its Hong Kong site, its Chinese users did not shift en masse to rival Baidu Inc, the state run China Daily said in a report today.
Google enjoyed a 30 per cent market share in the nearly 400 million subscriber Chinese internet market.
According to Alexa Internet, a United States-based online web traffic tracker, traffic on Baidu only increased 1.3 per cent in the past seven days since Google announced on March 23 it would stop censoring its Chinese search results and closed down its Google.cn.
This means most of Google's Chinese users are still using the US search engine though the accessibility of its uncensored Hong Kong website was interrupted on Tuesday.
Figures from Alexa show that most of the traffic from Google.cn has been picked up by Google.com.hk, of which user visits surged 2,056 per cent over the past week.
It said an additional 3.2 per cent of global Internet users have visited Google.com.hk in the past seven days, roughly equivalent to the total traffic of Google.cn before the company threatened to exit the mainland.
"For ordinary Chinese Internet users, visiting Google. com.hk has not been that much different from visiting Google.
cn," Edward Yu, president of Analysis International, said.
Conversely, commercial Google's partners in China have "panicked" on fears that Google's move may worsen their relationship with the Chinese government and thus affect their
Baidu on Thursday did not respond to a request for its comment on the report, the daily said.
On Tuesday, access to Google.com.hk was blocked for most of the day, but the service quickly resumed normal operations on Wednesday.
Compared with ordinary users, Google's business partners and advertisers seem to be more unsettled. China's major Web portal Sina.com said it was re-evaluating cooperation with Google, according to a Xinhua report.
Google's other domestic partners such as Tom.com, Tianya and China Unicom have all announced plans to steer clear of the search engine after it rerouted on it search services to Hong Kong.
Cheng Yu, general manager of Zoom Interactive, a Google advertising retailer in Beijing, said his business has dropped 20 to 30 per cent after Google's announcement in January that it may pull out of the mainland.
He said many of his clients, especially big advertisers, have reduced their spending budgets on Google.