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Google to shut China search engine [ft.com]
Google has drawn up detailed plans for the closure of its Chinese search engine and is now “99.9 per cent” certain to go ahead as talks over censorship with the Chinese authorities have reached an apparent impasse, according to a person familiar with the company’s thinking.
In a hardening of positions on both sides, the Chinese government also on Friday threw down a direct public challenge to the US search company, with a warning that it was not prepared to compromise on internet censorship to stop Google leaving.
Google’s executives have made it clear that they still hope to stay in the country, whatever the fate of Google.cn. “It’s very important to know we are not pulling out of China,” Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, told the Financial Times at the time. “We have a good business in China. This is about the censorship rules, not anything else.”
The company’s other operations, which pre-date the launch of Google.cn four years ago, include its research centre in Beijing and a sales force that sells advertising on the Chinese-language Google.com search service, based outside China, to advertisers inside the country.
Google missed a deadline to re-register as an "internet content provider" (ICP) in China last night, which observers say is a sign that it is preparing to shut down its search engine there.
Google UK denied the reports, saying that the ICP licence – required by the Chinese government for companies which want to operate a website inside the country – only has to be renewed annually before the end of March. "It's a bit early for such speculation," said a spokesman.
Google May Shut Down China Unit in April [bloomberg.com]
Google Inc. may pull out of China on April 10, China Business News reported today, citing an unidentified Chinese sales agent for the company.
The search engine may announce its exit on March 22, the Shanghai-based newspaper reported, citing an unidentified Google China employee. It may also reveal plans for its China staff on the same day, according to the report.
Google hasn’t confirmed the April 10 date for its pullout, the newspaper cited the sales agent as saying.