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Google targets Asia for ads, to open its centre in Taiwan.

TAIPEI: Google, owner of the world's most-popular search engine, will spend more than $300 million building its largest Asian data centre in Taiwan to meet the region's demand for its Gmail and YouTube services.

A 15-hectare (37-acre) site in Changhua, central Taiwan, will be five times larger than locations already being developed in Singapore and Hong Kong, and bring total spending on facilities in the region to more than $700 million, the Mountain View, California-based company said yesterday.

The investment will help tap into growing demand for mobile advertising in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for more than half of global revenue for the category, according to Bloomberg Industries. Google is expanding its infrastructure investments in Asia as revenue growth outside the United States outpaces that in its home territory.

"What makes Asia unique is the fact that it's a region of mobile-first," Daniel Alegre, Google's president for Asia-Pacific, said in a phone interview yesterday.

"YouTube, for instance, is becoming a very large component of mobile usage." The Taiwan centre will be operational by the second half of next year and have about 25 full-time workers, Alegre said. Smaller centres in Hong Kong and Singapore were announced in September, marking the company's first moves to locate its servers closer to the world's largest region for Internet usage.

The Asia-Pacific market for mobile Internet advertising climbed 18 per cent to $2.1 billion last year, accounting for 61 percent of global spending, according to Bloomberg Industries.

Google got 46 per cent of its revenue in the US last year, down from 57 per cent in 2006, and the country is home to 81 per cent of its long-term assets, according to data.

Australian consumers

Google, in the meanwhile, misled Australian consumers in 2007 by including paid advertisements from competitors in search results for businesses, an appeal court ruled.

The Federal Court of Appeal in Sydney yesterday overturned a lower court decision and ordered the company to set up a protocol to avoid repeating the practice.

The decision makes Google responsible for ads that are displayed and says the company isn't merely a conduit for the advertiser.

Google was ordered to pay a share of costs for the trial and appeal although it won't have to pay a penalty because the Trade Practices Act, under which it was originally sued, didn't provide for fines for misleading conduct.

The case "raises very important issues as to the role of search engine providers as publishers of paid content in the online age," Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, said yesterday.

Google has changed the way results are displayed since 2007.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:90ASI
Date:Apr 4, 2012
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