Google, in cooperation with major music labels, has launched a free music download service in China to counter Chinese search king Baidu. The new ad-supported service offers high quality music from 14 labels, including Sony, Warner, EMI and Universal.
Lee Kai-Fu, president of Google in greater China, said Monday that one reason Google has lagged in the mainland search market was because it did not offer music downloads, the missing piece to its strategy in a market where it trails leader Baidu.com.
"We are offering free, high quality and legal downloads," Lee told reporters. "We were missing one piece...we didn't have music."
The service offers downloads of some 350,000 songs--from Chinese and foreign artists--a number that will rise to 1.1 million in the coming months, said Gary Chen, chief executive of Google partner Top100.cn, a Chinese music website co-founded by basketball star Yao Ming.