Google announced on Monday, March 22 that it will stop censuring its Chinese search site, Google.cn. Chinese users will now be redirected to Google’s Hong Kong site, Google.com.hk, which offers uncensored search results.
Previously, Google was censoring its results on Google.cn in accordance with Chinese censorship laws, but now the Chinese government will be responsible for censuring
search results it finds objectionable for users in mainland China. While Google was hopeful that mainland China would have uncensored access to the information and services the company provides, the Chinese government has fervently maintained their position. Although Google has shut down its search operations, it will maintain a presence through its ad sales business, Android mobile phone operating system and Chrome browser, which constitute the majority of the revenue from the Chinese market.
Many argue that both Google and China stand to gain a great deal from Google’s continued presence in China. China is the fastest-growing cell phone market with about 700 million customers, and Chinese wireless providers are increasingly offering phones with an Android operating system. Furthermore, the Chinese government wants to encourage business with foreign companies, and a Google exit would be unfavorable from a public relations standpoint.
For now, Google will remain a strong presence in China.