China has renewed Google’s license, ending months of speculation that the Internet-search giant would be shut out of the world’s biggest market of online users.
“We are very pleased that the government has renewed our … license and we look forward to continuing to provide web search and local products to our users in China,” Google said in a brief statement on its official blog Friday.
The standoff with the Chinese government centered on Google’s refusal to censor search results on its Chinese site Google.cn.
Google shut its Chinese portal and redirected mainland China users to an uncensored site based in Hong Kong.
That move did not go down well with the China’s communist government.
“It’s clear from conversations we have had with Chinese government officials that they find the redirect unacceptable - and that if we continue redirecting users our Internet Content Provider license will not be renewed,” David Drummond, senior vice president for corporate development and chief legal officer at Google, said in an earlier post on Google’s blog.
Google decided to end the redirect after resubmitting its license renewal application to the Chinese government.
Mr. Drummond said that ever since Google launched Google.cn, “we have done our best to increase access to information while abiding by Chinese law.”
He said it has not always been easy to strike a balance, especially since Google’s January announcement that it would no longer censor results on Google.cn.
“Without [the] license, we can’t operate a commercial website like Google.cn - so Google would effectively go dark in China,” Mr. Drummond said.
• Ashish Kumar Sen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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