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Google has hit China where it hurts - icing the launch of two Android phones in the world's biggest and fastest growing mobile market.

The search giant said in a statement to Dow Jones that it had originally planned to launch a brace of Android-based devices - one from Samsung, one from Motorola - tomorrow, but had now postponed the launch.

A spokesperson told the news wire that it would be "irresponsible" to launch the device in the country given the uncertainty over its operation in China.

Google is considering a wholescale withdrawal from China, after uncovering a systematic attack on its systems from within the country. It has told Beijing that will have to perform its own censorship in future.

Google did not give a new date, and its wouldbe partner China Unicom was unable to further enlighten Dow Jones.

According to The Times, a Chinese magazine claims that Google had withdrawn permission authorisation for running its content, including applications and Google maps.

It's conceivable that this could be in line with its new policy of rejecting Beijing's requirements on censorship and/or identifying dissidents.

A device that tracks movements and search requests would be a boon for authoritarian governments.

Google's rethink on complying with China's peculiar approach to political expression and dealing with dissidents would be somewhat undermined if it gave Beijing the opportunity to crack down on dissent at an even more granular level.

The announcement came just hours after Chinese officials reiterated their policy that companies operating on its territory must fall in line with its "laws and traditions". ®

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