China confirmed on Sunday that Beijing had renewed Google’s licence to operate in the world’s largest Internet market – Chinese government, ending a standoff over censorship, after Google agreed to “rectify” its operations.
Google’s licence had been renewed on Friday. Beijing Guxiang Information Technology Co. Ltd., Google’s China website operator, was one of hundreds of companies whose licences were renewed that was sent to the website of Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
The license number of Google had passed the ministry’s annual review “after rectification”. The online document revealed on Friday, did not give any explanation of what change which Google had to make.
Google did not make any concessions which regarded censorship, according to Tokyo-based Google spokeswoman Jessica Powell. While Baidu’s shares (BIDU), the lead search engine in China, dropped over 7%, Google’s (GOOG, Fortune 500) stock increased 4% in pre-market trading.
Last week, the search giant had agreed to stop its system of automatically redirecting users of the Chinese site, google.cn, to its Hong Kong search engine, Google.com.hk. The move made China annoy.
An unnamed ministry official was quoted by the official Xinhua new agency “Guxiang had met the requirements. The licence renewal application of Guxiang is approved”.
Chinese operator of Google accepted that all of its content was subject to government regulators’ supervision, the official told Xinhua. China would continue its opening-up policy and welcomed foreign investors, the official told Xinhua.
However, the government would keep demanding foreign companies comply with its laws. Google said it would no longer bow to government censors and effectively shut down its Chinese search engine which re-routes mainland users aimed for its uncensored site in Hong Kong in March.
But at the end of last month, the company tweaked the way it reroutes users, out of concern for the renewal of its licence. In spite of its penchant for censorship of Web material, the renewing of Google’s ICP license permits the company to keep operating in the communist country. Google would effectively go dark in China without an ICP license.
The stock price of Google has fell about 18% for four months, when it stopped censoring search services on google.cn, its Chinese search site.
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