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Microsoft launches advertising platform in China

BEIJING, Sept 1 – Microsoft has launched an advertising platform in China in an attempt to grab market share from rival Google, which has been wrangling with Beijing over censorship, state media said Wednesday.

The US Internet titan\’s adCenter will target Chinese exporters wanting to advertise overseas, said Anderson Liu, general manager of Microsoft\’s domestic joint venture MSN China.

"It\’s time to join the market and let Chinese advertisers have more choices," Liu was quoted by the China Daily as saying.

AdCenter helps businesses place advertisements online such as on Microsoft\’s Bing search engine.

Microsoft hopes revenue from the pay-per-click ads will account for half of MSN China\’s business in the future, Liu said, without providing further details.

In July, Google parted ways with two Chinese advertisers following its standoff with Beijing over censorship and cyberattacks the US search giant claims originated in China.

Google cut ties with Universal Internet Media and Xi\’an Weihua Network, two major advertising agencies that worked in eastern and northwestern China, the China Daily said, citing Marsha Wang, Google China spokeswoman.

In January, Google said it would not buckle to Chinese government pressure to censor its content, and threatened to pull out of the country entirely.

It later effectively shut down its Chinese site google.cn, re-routing mainland users to its uncensored site in Hong Kong.

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In March, a group of 27 Chinese advertising agencies sent Google a letter calling for talks over compensation for possible business losses amid the censorship wrangle.

Google\’s share of China\’s online market fell to 24.2 percent in the three months to June, from 30.9 percent in the first quarter, research firm Analysys International said in a recent report.

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