Google has stopped censoring its
search results in China, ignoring warnings by the country’s authorities.
The company said it is not pulling
out of China and it will continue to host non-search services in China and
intends to keep sales and research operations in China.
A Google spokesman said it is
“too early to tell” what will happen to its roughly 600 employees in
China, who may be reassigned.
is now redirecting its Chinese users to Hong Kong site google.com.hk, which
offers uncensored search results, according to its company blog.
want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services,
including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal
clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal
requirement,” the company said in its blog post.
company said it “very much hopes” that the government of China respects
its decision, though it is “well aware” that the Chinese authorities
could block access to its services for users within the country’s borders.
will continue its wider business operations in China, including its ad sales
business, though the search company conceded that the size of its sales
workforce will be partially dependent on the ability of mainland Chinese users
to access google.com.hk.
addition to search, Google generates revenue from an ad sales business in
China, its Android mobile phone operating system and its Chrome browser
business. It also runs a host of Web services in China, including e-mail
widely agree with Google’s assessment that discontinuing its search operations
in China would have an “immaterial” effect on its revenue. Google.cn
had tens of millions of users in China, but was unable to control more than
about a third of China’s search market as it struggled to beat the tough
competition of entrenched search rivals such as Baidu.