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Monday, September 20, 2004Google's vision is to build the best search engine around. While that effort has won a large following in some countries, other locations have been tougher to crack. Analysts say that Google must succeed internationally to ensure its future health. But the young company will have to play catch-up in some key nations, particularly in Asia, precisely where the potential for future growth is the greatest. Already, Google's international business accounts for nearly 30 percent of its revenue. That total is expected to increase as the company matures.Google's business, though global, is concentrated in just 10 countries. They also reflect the company's frustration over its billing system, which couldn't accept some popular payment methods from advertisers in some major countries. The system, scheduled for replacement earlier this year, was blamed for lost revenue. Google has considered outsourcing customer service jobs overseas, a controversial but common practice in Silicon Valley. However, the firm has so far decided against it and is instead adding employees, not contractors, in Ireland and India for the tax savings and lower wages. According to Neilsen/NetRatings,In Europe, Google is the clear search leader. It was the top search engine in France, Germany, United Kingdom and Italy in July.However, in Asia it is an entirely different story. The company was No. 3 in Hong Kong and only No. 10 in Japan.The big two (Yahoo and Google) deliver very comparable results, so it's hard in the short term to differentiate your results,therefore, it will be harder in the short term to take significant market share in a country like Japan.China is also considered to be particularly tough. Many Chinese companies already dominate the search market there. THE GLOBAL IMPACT OF GOOGLING
Google's rank in search
Hong Kong: 3rd
Source: Nielsen/NetRatings (July).
Google's international business at a glance
Traffic outside U.S. over half
Revenue from abroad (first six months 2004): 31 percent
Number of languages: 104
Number of Web sites: 101
Without doubt an interesting challenge lay ahead for Google.
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