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Google plays waiting game on China ICP licence renewal

Application submitted, fate unknown

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The operator of Google.cn submitted an Internet Content Provider (ICP) licence renewal request yesterday on behalf of Mountain View.

Xinhua news agency reported that Guxiang Information Technology Co. Ltd, which runs Google’s China website, applied for the licence and vowed to “abide by the Chinese law”.

The application was submitted to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Wednesday.

Xinhua, which is China’s official news agency, cited an unnamed internet administrator in its report.

Google’s ICP licence was set to expire yesterday. It’s understood that Beijing will respond “soon” to the company’s renewal request.

Guxiang reportedly said in its application that it would “ensure the company will provide no law-breaking contents as stated in the 57th statement (PDF) in China’s regulations concerning telecommunications.”

On 22 March this year Mountain View closed its China-based search engine and announced that it would redirect Google.cn visitors to its Hong Kong-based engine, Google.com.hk, where it would provide uncensored search results in simplified Chinese.

Earlier this week Google agreed to halt the automatic rerouting of its China search engine users to Hong Kong after Beijing officials threatened not to renew the firm's internet licence if it continued with the switcheroo.

Since then, Google has been shifting its Google.cn users to a "landing page" that links to Google.com.hk, where China-based folk can use Google.cn services such as music and text translation provided "locally" without filtering.

The firm is now hoping that Chinese officials will be satisfied with Google's latest approach, otherwise it could be lights out for the web kingpin in the People’s Republic. ®

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