China launches new government-run search site again

March 3
4:42 PM 2014

The Chinese government has made another attempt at creating its own search engine with the launch of ChinaSo, TechCrunch reported.

The vice president of Xinhua, the official news outlet of the Communist Party of China, is said to be running the new search platform, whose color palette is similar to that of search giant Google. ChinaSo is the result of the merger of state-run websites Jike and Panguso that combined in 2013, the report said.

A Tech in Asia report about the matter said Jike was a creation of People's Daily in 2010 while Xinhua and China Mobile formed the joint venture that is Panguso which went online in 2011. However, the two search sites never got traction, getting only a market share of less than 0.2%. The new state-run search platform is bound to suffer the same fate, the report said.

TechCrunch reported that while no one will most likely use ChinaSo, the move can be viewed as part of the government's efforts to show that it does not need to depend on overseas firms for its tech infrastructure. It can be recalled that last year the Ministry of Industry and Information and Technology did not like the country's dependence on the open source platform Android because "the core technology and technology roadmap is strictly controlled by Google." The Ministry, on the other hand, lauded domestic firms such as Baidu, Alibaba and Huawei for coming up with their distinct operating systems, the report said.

While it still remains to be seen if ChinaSo will succeed, one of the more successful initiatives of the Chinese government is the open source operating system Ubuntu Kylin which it developed together with Canonical. It was launched in April last year and has seen over one million downloads in the past six months. The number could still go up rapidly when Microsoft will cease support for the most commonly-used operating system in China, Windows XP, next month, the report said.

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