The Chinese government has renewed Google’s Internet Content Provider (ICP) license, a company spokesman said on Wednesday, giving the company another year to operate its local website in the country.
The company’s license, which allows the search giant to operate its China-based site Google.cn, must be reviewed annually. Last year, the company’s license renewal appeared to be in doubt after Google decided months earlier it would no longer censor its search engine results in the country. The move angered Chinese officials, but in July, authorities decided to still renew the license.
Google, however, has significantly reduced its services in the country after declaring it would stop censoring search results. Google.cn no longer operates as a search engine, but instead provides a link to Google.com.hk, the company’s unfiltered search engine for Hong Kong users. Google search results, however, are still filtered in China through the government’s own censorship systems.
Since then Google has seen its share of the search market drop to 8 per cent of all Internet queries, according to CNZZ.com, an analytical web research site. Domestic search engine giant Baidu has an 80 per cent share.
In the run-up to the ICP license approval, Chinese authorities found plenty to dislike about Google, apparently blocking access to Gmail in March and to Google Plus when Google introduced the social networking feature in June.