Google has appointed a former telecommunications company executive to develop its search engine business in China, the company announced Tuesday.
As Google's president of sales and business development for Greater China, Johnny Chou will lead the search for new partners in the region, and take responsibility for building up the company's sales there. He will work alongside former Microsoft Corp. executive Kai-Fu Lee, recruited by Google to create a Chinese research and development center.
Chou spent the last nine years at telecommunications company UT StarCom, where he was most recently president of Chinese operations.
News of Chou's move first leaked in the Chinese press two weeks ago. At that time, Chou's name was removed from the list of senior executives on UT StarCom's Web site, but Google refused to comment on the rumors.
At the end of August, Google was the number-two search engine in China, well behind local player Baidu.com, according to statistics from China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).