Google.com, which has failed to gain momentum in China against rivals like Baidu.com, has issued a statement that it will end its automatic redirect to its Hong Kong website.
David Drummond, Google’s senior vice president of corporate development and the chief legal officer, stated on the company’s official blog, “We currently automatically redirect everyone using Google.cn to Google.com.hk, our Hong Kong search engine. This redirect, which offers unfiltered search in simplified Chinese, has been working well for our users and for Google. However, it’s clear from conversations we have had with Chinese government officials that they find the redirect unacceptable — and that if we continue redirecting users our Internet Content Provider license will not be renewed (it’s up for renewal on June 30). Without an ICP license, we can’t operate a commercial website like Google.cn — so Google would effectively go dark in China.”
Instead, the company will create a landing page on which Google will offer users an opportunity to selectively visit the Hong Kong search engine, where search results will be less censored.
Drummond continues: “Over the next few days we’ll end the redirect entirely, taking all our Chinese users to our new landing page — and today we re-submitted our ICP license renewal application based on this approach.”