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Chinese Firms to Launch Search Engine Rivaling Google, Others

A man walks past the Google company logo outside the Google China headquarters in Beijing (file)

Google is facing a new challenge in China, but this time the problem is not censorship.

Two state-run companies announced plans Thursday to enter the Internet search business, creating another potential rival to the American-based web search giant.

The new venture by Xinhua news agency and leading telephone carrier China Mobile is expected to focus on mobile searches -- an area in which Google is currently ranked third in China. Chinese firms Baidu and Easou both have more customers in the fast-growing market.

The announcement comes five weeks after Chinese authorities renewed Google's license to operate in the country. The decision had been in doubt after Google moved its standard Internet search functions to Hong Kong to avoid having to cooperate with Chinese censors.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.