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Google China

Google China

Google’s license to operate in China has been renewed after a stand-off since January, which had looked like Google may have been forced to pull out the world’s most populated country.

But how did it get to this state?  A quick look back:

  • China Google was founded in 2005 with a Chinese-language interface developed and Google.cn launched in 2006, with results censored by the Chinese government.
  • In March 2009, China blocked access to Google’s YouTube site; access to other Google online services is denied to users on an ad hoc basis.  Google’s market share decreases to rival Baidu.
  • January 2010, Google announces it is no longer willing to censor searches in China and may pull out of the country.
  • In February 2010, hacking attacks on Google are traced to mainland China.
  • March 23rd, 2010, Google redirects all visitors to Google.cn to Google.com.hk thereby bypassing Chinese regulators and allowing uncensored Simplified Chinese search results.
  • March 30th, searching via all Google search sites (not only google.cn but all language versions, e.g. Google.co.jp, google.com.au, etc.), including Google Mobile, was banned in Mainland China. The ban was lifted a day later.
  • June 30th, Google ends automatic redirect of Google China to Google Hong Kong. Instead a link to Google Hong Kong is added. This done with the hope of appeasing the authorities in order to renew their ICP license, though it was not certain that this would be seen to be enough of an effort.

On Google’s Blog post today:

“As a company we aspire to make information available to users everywhere, including China. It’s why we have worked so hard to keep Google.cn alive, as well as to continue our research and development work in China. This new approach is consistent with our commitment not to self censor and, we believe, with local law. We are therefore hopeful that our license will be renewed on this basis so we can continue to offer our Chinese users services via Google.cn.”

Looks like they got away with it as today, Google has confirmed that the Chinese government has renewed its ICP license in the country, after the search giant made concessions to comply with Chinese law.

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