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China confirms Google's operating licence renewed

business Updated: Jul 11, 2010 16:50 IST

AFP
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Beijing on Sunday confirmed that it had renewed Google's licence to operate in China, the world's largest Internet market, after the company agreed to "rectify" its operations.

Google's China website operator, Beijing Guxiang Information Technology Co Ltd, was on a list of hundreds of companies whose licences were renewed that was posted on the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's website.

Google's licence number appeared on a list of companies that had passed the ministry's annual review "after rectification". The online document, dated Friday, gave no explanation of what change Google had to make.

"After our assessment, we decided that Guxiang had basically met the requirements. Guxiang's licence renewal application is approved," an unnamed ministry official was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua new agency.

Google announced on Friday that its licence had been renewed.

Google's Chinese operator accepted that all of its content was subject to government regulators' supervision, the official told Xinhua.

The official told Xinhua that China would continue its opening-up policy and welcomed foreign investment, but that the government would continue to demand foreign companies comply with its laws.

In March, Google said it would no longer bow to government censors and effectively shut down its Chinese search engine, re-routing mainland users to its uncensored site in Hong Kong.

But late last month, the company tweaked the way it reroutes users, out of concern for the renewal of its licence.

Currently all mainland users are directed to a new landing page on google.cn, a website in China that now has links to the Hong Kong site. Google has said it believed this approach complies with Chinese law.

This appeared to be the "rectification" to which the ministry was referring.

"It was clear we had to end the redirect," the Financial Times quoted Google CEO Eric Schmidt as telling a forum in the United States on Thursday.