Business your connection to The Boston Globe

Google buys stake in Chinese social-networking website

NEW YORK -- Google Inc., owner of the most popular Internet search engine, invested in Chinese website, heightening competition with Inc.

Tianya Laiba, a site where people can connect with friends, and Tianya Wenda, where users answer each other's questions, will run on Google technology, spokeswoman Courtney Hohne said in an e-mail yesterday. Google won't disclose the size of the investment, she said.

Google aims to lure people to its query functions with the sites, narrowing the gap in advertising sales with Baidu, the reigning search engine in China. The country is second only to the United States in Internet users, with almost 90 million, according to Reston, Va.-based researcher ComScore Inc.

Google shares fell $2.12 to $497.92.