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China gives Google nod of approval, renews licence

Beijing satisfied with Mountain View's concessions

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Google.cn’s website operator had its licence renewed late last week, a Beijing official confirmed yesterday.

Last Friday Google put out a terse statement confirming that the company’s Internet Content Provider (ICP) licence had been renewed for another year.

But that only happened after Mountain View management agreed to stop redirecting China web surfers to its Hong Kong search page. This was seen by many as an embarrassing climbdown by Google, with the firm in effect outsourcing censorship to the Chinese government.

China’s official news agency Xinhua, which cites an anonymous Beijing source, reported yesterday that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology had “approved after rectification” Guxiang Information Technology Co Ltd’s ICP licence.

Guxiang, which applied for the licence renewal on 29 June, is Google’s website operator in China.

At the end of last month Google agreed to halt the automatic rerouting of its China search engine users to Hong Kong. It was responding to Beijing officials' demands to end the redirect or face losing its ICP licence. ®

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