A year after Google moved its search services out of China, the Internet giant is struggling to maintain traction on a range of businesses in the country despite its executives' desire to keep growing in the wake of a feud with the Chinese government.
Chinese online media company Sina Corp. said this week that it dropped Google's Web search service from its popular portal site, marking an end to one of its most important remaining partnerships in the market.
At the same time, Google's Gmail free email service has become difficult to use in China; the company blames stepped up efforts by censors to disrupt Gmail access.
Meanwhile, new regulations to tighten oversight of online map providers make the future of Google's map service in China unclear. On Thursday—the deadline for applying for new online mapping licenses—Google said it was in discussions with the government on how it can continue operating the service. It wouldn't comment on the likely outcome of those talks.
The developments are the latest signs that significant parts of Google's business in China, home to more than 450 million Internet users, have been unraveling since last March. It was then that Google replaced its self-censored China search service with an unfiltered version based in Hong Kong, citing censorship and cyberattacks that the company said were traced to Chinese hackers.
The company's share of search market revenue in China dropped to 19.6% last quarter from 35.6% a year earlier, or just before Google's announcement, according to research firm Analysys International.