China will investigate and prosecute Google next July if the search engine company does not acquire the necessary state license to operate its Google Maps service in the country, according to the government.
The deadline comes after the country's State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping introduced regulations earlier this year that require all companies providing online mapping services to apply with the bureau for approval. Google has yet to do so, the bureau said in an e-mail, adding that after March 31 of next year, companies without the license will be exposed to the public.
If the companies still do not have the licenses by July 1, the bureau will punish them according to the law. The bureau, however, did not say what specific actions it would take against Google should it fail to acquire the license on time.