Kiwi search engine debuts inside China

Bay of Plenty tech company Pingar launched the Chinese-language version of its search platform last night at the Shanghai World Expo.The ‘intelligent' platform, which generates dynamic formatted documents in response to natural language queries, is now available for pilot testing in Hong Kong and mainland China.Speaking to NBR from Shanghai, Pingar managing director Peter Wren-Hilton hoped the launch would further “ongoing conversations” with Chinese universities and government organisations.

Bay of Plenty tech company Pingar launched the Chinese-language version of its search platform last night at the Shanghai World Expo.

The ‘intelligent’ platform, which generates dynamic formatted documents in response to natural language queries, is now available for pilot testing in Hong Kong and mainland China.

Speaking to NBR from Shanghai, Pingar managing director Peter Wren-Hilton hoped the launch would further “ongoing conversations” with Chinese universities and government organisations.

Pingar developed the traditional and simplified Chinese versions of its platform in association with New Zealand universities and Hong Kong-based business partner Compose Systems.

Last night’s debut presentation – a “major milestone” - was attended by invited dignitaries, academics and publishing representatives from NZ, Hong Kong and China.

Censorship not a problem

Mr Wren-Hilton said issues of search engine censorship within China do not apply to Pingar since, unlike Google, Pingar’s initial Chinese entry product is enterprise based.

“It’s going to search inside companies and government departments and so, of course, they will select the content that their users can view.”

He said that Pingar would “very possibly” look at offering a public internet search platform in China in future though "obviously we need to understand the market better first".

Pingar’s Asian operations will continue to run from Hong Kong. The company has an established presence in the UK and is looking to open a North American office in Silicon Valley in the third quarter of 2010.

NZ Trade and Enterprise and the Foundation of Research, Science and Technology have funded Pingar by $300,000 and over $100,000 respectively, in addition to $1.5 million raised by the company from private investors.

The company expects to begin making a profit during 2011.