Internet giant Google might be wary of the Chinese government’s policies relating to Internet censorship, online freedom, and privacy—so much so it has refused to roll out selected services in China (and refused to store selected data in China) for fear it would be compelled to disclose user data to authorities, much as Yahoo has done. But according to local news reports cited by Sina.com the Internet giant definitely wants a slice of the Chinese digital music market, and is expected to launch a joint venture with Top100.cn to enable Chinese Internet users to stream and download music files for free via an ad-supported service.
If Google and Top100.cn were to launch a free music service, it would put them in direct competition with China’s leading Internet portal Baidu, which provides users direct links to a wide variety of digital music files…the vast majority of which are pirated. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is seeking a court order to ban Baidu and Sohu.com from indexing pirated music; the organization estimates that over 99 percent of all music distributed online in China is pirated.
The move would mark Google’s latest expansion in China; in 2006, the company launched a Chinese version of its search engine, and recently bought a stake in a Chinese social networking service.
Top100.cn was set up by way of a $2.8 million investment by Chinese basketball star Yao Ming.
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