China renews Google license to operate
Google said Friday that China has renewed its license to operate its search business there, avoiding a feared shutdown of the company's business in the world's largest Internet market.
The Silicon Valley search firm wrote on its blog: "We are very pleased that the government has renewed our ICP license and we look forward to continuing to provide web search and local products to our users in China."
A spokesperson declined to comment beyond the one-line statement. She wouldn't answer what brought about the change of direction when just last week the company expressed fear that the Chinese government would shut down search operations entirely.
Google sparked a global debate over Internet censorship last January with its decision to withdraw business from China. In March, it found a workaround, by rerouting traffic from China, which was requiring certain sites to be blocked, to Hong Kong. Last week, Google said it would stop rerouting search traffic to its Hong Kong-based servers because the Chinese government had indicated that Google would not be granted a renewal of its Internet Content Provider license if it continued to reroute.
"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," Google's senior legal counsel, David Drummond wrote in a blog.
In late June, Google said it would instead redirect Chinese users to a page showing Google's Hong Kong address, which users could then click on. It was not immediately clear Friday whether that compromise was acceptable to Chinese authorities and would remain in place.
by Cecilia Kang
July 9, 2010; 7:56 AM ET
Categories: Consumers , Google , International
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