China Mobile, Xinhua to Form Search Engine JV

China Mobile Communications Corp. and China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency on Thursday signed a framework agreement to launch a media and search-engine joint venture, Xinhua reported.

Rainie Lei, a spokeswoman for China Mobile Ltd., the Hong Kong-listed unit of state-owned China Mobile Communications, confirmed the parent company had signed the agreement with Xinhua but declined to give details.

The cooperation, which is focused on building a search engine, has entered a phase of substantive operation, Xinhua said, without giving details.

A new search engine would compete with market leader Baidu Inc. (BIDU) and second-place Google Inc. (GOOG) in China, which had 420 million Internet users at the end of June, more than the entire U.S. population.

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