TAIPEI (Reuters) - Google Inc will continue to invest in China, where it has a testy relationship with the government, with a focus on growing its fast-growing display and mobile advertising businesses, its Asia chief said on Tuesday.
In a brief telephone interview during a visit to Taiwan, Google's APAC President Daniel Alegre said the company sees opportunities in connecting China's businesses with potential overseas customers.
"We've never left China," Alegre said.
"We continue to have operations in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou; we have a thriving engineering centre, our sales infrastructure is something that we continue to grow, and the display, export and mobile opportunities are growing much faster than we had ever predicted."
Google moved its servers from China to Hong Kong in 2010 after a hacking attack that was widely blamed on China, saying also at the time it was no longer willing to censor search results. The issue became a political strain between the U.S. and China.
Google continues to run operations in China, though relations with the Chinese government remain strained.
Alegre said Google can serve as a platform for the vast number of small and medium enterprises in China to access global consumers.
There are also over 10,000 Chinese registered developers on AdMob, the mobile advertising platform that Google bought in 2009.
Google currently has more than 500 employees in China and it said it plans to keep the number stable at this stage.
Alegre was in Taiwan to break ground on Google $300 million data centre in Taiwan, its third in Asia after Singapore and Hong Kong.
The company expects the Taiwan centre to come online in the second half of 2013.
Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Jonathan Standing