Google is trying to get around Chinese censorship laws–and keep doing business in the country–by creating a new landing page for Google China. That landing page will then link to the company’s Hong Kong-based, less censored site. The BBC has more:
Until recently, the firm automatically redirected Chinese users to its unfiltered search site in Hong Kong to get round censorship issues. Google has said it will now stop this after Beijing warned it could lose its licence to operate in the country. Instead, Chinese users will be sent to a “landing page”. Clicking anywhere on it sends them to the Hong Kong site.
Google said it was hopeful that this subtle change – where users have to actively click on a link to access unfiltered search results rather than being automatically redirected – would allow it to continue operating in China. Chinese law demands that companies use web servers based in China.
Google announced the changes one day before its Internet Content Provider (ICP) licence – necessary to operate in the country – was due to expire. (Google chief legal officer David Drummond said that) “this new approach is consistent with our commitment not to self censor and, we believe, with local law. We are therefore hopeful that our licence will be renewed.”
Losing business in the country could harm Google’s future growth prospects. However, unlike in other markets, Google is not focused on search in China, which is currently dominated by Baidu. Instead, experts say, Google aims to develop its music and maps services in the country.
So much for the activist hoopla about Google pulling out of China to defend censorship. Google China (and Google anywhere else) is all about the almighty dollar. They can’t afford to take a stand against a market as big as China. Even if this move fails, they’ll try to quietly find a way to make things work.