China confirms renews Google’s China licence


Reuters | BEIJING | Sun Jul 11, 2010| 1:54pm IST

Google logo in China China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said it had renewed the Chinese operating licence of U.S. Internet giant Google Inc (GOOG.O), confirming an announcement made by the company on Friday. Guxiang, a company that operates Google’s websites in China, was included in a list of more than 200 companies that had their licences renewed, which was posted on the ministry’s website. The document said that the company received approval after "making improvements", but gave no further details. The official Xinhua news agency reported that Guxiang, in its licence renewal application, had committed to "abide by Chinese law," and ensure the company did not provide content that was illegal under China’s telecommunications regulations.

Those rules ban any organisation or individual from using the Internet to spread content that aims to "subvert state power, undermine national security … or that incites ethnic hatred and secession, transmits pornography or violence," Xinhua said. Guxiang also accepted that government regulators will have the right to supervise all the content provided by the firm, Xinhua added, citing an unnamed official from the ministry. China’s decision to allow Google to continue operating in China apparently resolves a months-long censorship dispute that had threatened the U.S. company’s future in the world’s top Internet market by users.  

The move also removes another thorn in U.S.-China relations and reflects Beijing’s desire to be seen as friendly to major foreign firms in spite of ideological differences, analysts said. Google unexpectedly warned in January it might quit the country over censorship concerns and after suffering a hacker attack it said came from within China, but eventually started rerouting users to its unfiltered Hong Kong site. However, late last month the company said it would stop automatic redirection in order to appease Beijing, which was unhappy about the system. Visitors are now invited to click through to the Hong Kong page.

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