Google seeks Chinese merchants for its ecommerce marketplace

Meanwhile it finds itself in the crosshairs of billionaire VC and Trump-supporter Peter Thiel in the US.

A Chinese flag flies over the company logo outside the Google China headquarters in Beijing on January 14, 2010. Google vowed to stop bowing to Chinese Internet censors and risk banishment from the lucrative market, in protest against "highly sophisticated" cyberattacks aimed at Chinese human rights activists. The authorities in the world's most populous nation regularly block content and websites they deem politically objectionable. AFP PHOTO/LIU Jin (Photo credit should read LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Google Shopping, previously known as Google Product Search or Google Product, is seeking Chinese merchants to join its marketplace, according to media reports, making another effort to increase its business exposure to China.

Shangcang Tech, a Shenzhen subsidiary of California-based commerce software solution provider Teapplix, is helping Google to select products and recruit Chinese merchants.

Zheng Chunjia, deputy general manager at Shangcang, told KrAsia that they started the recruitment in July and at the moment are in the process of selecting products that could go on Google Shopping’s platform.

Shangcang selects products and submits product information to Google. If those products are approved by Google, Shangcang would then follow up with the recruitment of merchants, according to Zheng.

Google is also apparently setting up an in-house team to recruit Chinese merchants. The company recently put up a job ad recruiting a Shenzhen-based head of shopping partnerships who will “work with the seller ecosystem of China, bringing the best of them and helping them reach consumers world-wide.”

The US tech giant stopped providing search services in China in 2010 in protest of the country’s strict censorship rules, which was seen widely as a move effectively quitting the Chinese market. There are several reported attempts by Google to reenter China in the past few years, including the now-abandoned Dragonfly project which aimed to build a censored version of Google’s search engine for Chinese users.

The decision to recruit Chinese merchants for its Google Shopping platform comes amid controversy over the company’s dealing with China. Peter Thiel, a PayPal co-founder and President Trump’s most vocal Silicon Valley supporter, recently accused Google of being “treasonous” for allegedly “working with the Chinese military” and being “thoroughly infiltrated” by Chinese spies, without giving evidence for his claims. Trump later tweeted that his administration will look into Thiel’s accusation.