China renews Google’s licence to operate after compromise

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Google has announced that China has renewed its ICP licence to operate in the country, after announcing a week ago that it plans to end the automatic redirect to Google.com.hk, its Hong Kong-localised version of Google, with a landing page.

The move to stop the redirect was due to the objection by the Chinese government in March.

Without an ICP licence, Google is not allowed to operate in the country as it is deemed as a commercial website. Other content providers, like CBS Interactive – which has a large presence in China – and Yahoo also operate with an ICP licence.

“We are very pleased that the government has renewed our ICP licence and we look forward to continuing to provide web search and local products to our users in China,” Google said in a brief statement in an update to a blog post about an update with its Chinese conundrum.

The rift between Google and the Chinese Government started in January after Google revealed that it was attacked and traced the source back to China, and in retaliation decided to end its company’s long practice of self-censoring content in China and moved all of its servers from China to Hong Kong, which is a part of China but has different regulations in regards to the media and is not affected by the culture of censorship.

While this rift may have ended, Google is still not backing down from uncensored web searches and that will remain in Hong Kong. Instead, it will offer only searches for music files and products, while also offering Google Translate in China.

“We asked the government to renew our license on the basis that we would make some products – which don’t require any filtering by Google – available locally on Google.cn,” a spokesperson told paidContent.UK.