Google is back in business in China after Beijing did a backflip and renewed its operating licence.
The decision which was totally unexpected has surprised many in the industry after it’s recent censorship dispute with the US Company who is currently under investigation in several Countries after capturing private Wi Fi data.
In two lines of text posted on its own blog, Google said that the renewal of its internet content provider licence would allow it to continue providing “web search and local products to our users in China”.
During the past six months Google has been in a standoff with the Chinese Government who it accused of hacking into Google servers. Initally Google said that it would end its four-year-old agreement if it was required to censor Chinese searches.
The announcement means that Google can keep operating its google.cn website and removes the immediate threat that the US group would have to withdraw completely from the Chinese market, the world’s largest, with 400m users.
As a work around Google had started redirecting Chinese nationals to its Hong Kong website, which operates outside of mainland Chinese restrictions.
Early last month David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, said that Beijing had deemed the redirect “unacceptable”.
The Financial Times said that even with the renewed licence, Google could still encounter problems, including slow access to its websites or the complete blocking of google.com. Local internet users can access the company’s US website, but searches on sensitive subjects are censored by the Chinese themselves.
“The big thing for Google is that this takes away a lot of the uncertainty, which will allow them to sell advertising and do many other things,” said Duncan Clark, of BDA China, a Beijing-based technology consultancy. “But it is still not clear yet what the commercial impact will be of moving from one-click to two-clicks.”