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In China, Yahoo goes to a gigabyte

Portal boosts free e-mail storage tenfold for Chinese subscribers. Elsewhere, though, no-charge mailboxes still stand at 100MB.

Yahoo has increased the storage limit of its free e-mail service tenfold in China, but users elsewhere may not get to enjoy the same benefit anytime soon.

In a statement on its mainland Web site, the company said it has boosted the storage capacity for its free mail service from 100MB to 1GB, matching the storage of rival Google's upcoming Gmail offering.

While Gmail's trials are confined to a select group, Yahoo's upgrade will be extended to all existing and new users of its mail service in China. However, subscribers must first log on to Yahoo's instant messenger service and add other users to their contact lists to qualify for the 1GB of storage.

A representative of Yahoo Southeast Asia said there are "no immediate plans" to offer a similar upgrade to users in other countries. Connecting to Yahoo's e-mail page from the United States on Thursday shows the company still sticking with 100MB of free storage in other parts of the world.

The move marks the latest attempt by a major search giant to garner a greater share of China's booming Internet market, which, according to the China Internet Network Information Center, is expected to exceed 100 million users by year's end.

Earlier this year, Google invested in Chinese search engine and launched its advertising product called AdWords in the Chinese language.

Not to be outdone by growing competition from international rivals, Chinese portals like and Netease have reportedly joined the e-mail storage war and raised the capacities of their e-mail services.

Winston Chai of CNETAsia reported from Singapore.