Google Buys into

NEW YORK (AP) – Search site operator Google Inc. has taken a stake in popular Chinese community Web site, a company spokeswoman confirmed Monday.

Google spokeswoman Courtney Hohne said the company is not disclosing the amount or date of its investment, or the size of the stake it holds in the company, but said it is not a majority stake.

Also Monday, Google announced the launch of two new Tianya services. The first, Tianya Laiba, is an online community in which people can connect with friends and share content, and the second is Tianya Wenda, a question-and-answer service using the technology behind the now-defunct Google Answers.

The investment is part of Google's overall strategy to increase its presence in China's blossoming Internet market, where it has been sparring with competitors Inc. and Sina Corp.

Jeffrey Lindsay, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein, said in a phone interview Monday that he expects Google to continue acquiring shares in other Internet companies in China.

“It's a low-risk way until they build a better understanding of the market,” he said.

Google shares declined $1.70 to $498.34 in afternoon trading.