Internet search engine Yahoo! has set its sights on the world's second largest online market, mainland China.

The company, battling not only the hugely successful Google but also Microsoft's newly launched search service [WAMN: 11-Nov-04], has installed 1,000 servers in Beijing.

This follows on from its $120 million (€92.8m, £64.9m) purchase last year of 3721 Networld Software which controls search-engine provider Beijing 3721.

In June Yahoo launched the Chinese language - the first time it has registered a new website for its search-engine service outside the USA.

And last month the company allied with twelve mainland ISPs - together accounting for more than 50% of the country's internet users - to provide email and other services. Yahoo also wants to expand into online auctions and games.

Says Yahoo China president Zhou Hongwei: "Search, email and instant messaging will be three major business areas for Yahoo. We are confident that Yahoo will eventually defeat Google to dominate China's internet search market."

According to online research firm Shanghai iResearch, the mainland internet search market will be worth 840 million yuan ($101m, €78.5m, £54m) this year and 2.3 billion yuan next year, up from 500 million yuan last year.

Data sourced from People's Daily Online; additional content by WARC staff