In a bid to secure renewal of its China operating licence, Google said on Tuesday it would stop an automatic redirect to its Hong Kong site - a U-turn from Google's original threat in January to shut down Google.cn over censorship issues.
AFP - Google said Tuesday it would stop automatically redirecting Chinese users to an uncensored site in Hong Kong, a day before its government licence expires, following official complaints.
Earlier this year, the US web giant effectively shut down its search engine in mainland China -- the world's biggest Internet market -- over censorship and cyberattacks, and automatically re-routed users to the Hong Kong site.
"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 licence will not be renewed," Google's chief legal officer David Drummond said on the company's blog.
"Over the next few days we'll end the redirect entirely, taking all our Chinese users to our new landing page," he said, explaining that readers in China would be taken to a new page on Google.cn, which would link to the Hong Kong site.
Google's ICP licence comes up for renewal on Wednesday, and the Internet giant has re-submitted its application based on what it called a "new approach", Drummond added.
"This new approach is consistent with our commitment not to self-censor and, we believe, with local law."
In January, Google threatened to shut down its operations in mainland China altogether over what it said were China-based cyberattacks, and said it was no longer willing to bow to China's army of government censors.
Two months later, it started re-routing users of Google.cn to its Hong Kong site.
Beijing reacted furiously, denying any role in the cyberattacks which Google said had targeted the Gmail accounts of Chinese dissidents and saying it was "totally wrong" to stop filtering its Chinese-language search engine.
Google has said it plans to maintain its sales, research and development teams in China, which has the world's largest online population at 404 million.
Date created : 2010-06-29