Beijing – Google (NASD: GOOG) announced that it will stop re-directing
Chinese users to a Hong Kong-based version of its search site, in a bid to
retain a key "Internet Content Provider" license issued by the
government necessary to operate a commercial website in China.
legal officer David Drummond wrote on the company’s blog that it was "clear
from conversations we had with Chinese government officials that they find the
redirect unacceptable," adding, "without an ICP License, we can’t
operate a commercial website like Google.cn — so Google would effectively go
dark in China."
Google initially began redirecting Chinese searchers to
the Hong Kong-based site in the aftermath of a hacking incident against Google
originating out of China, which prompted the company to cease censoring of its
search results on its main Chinese site, Google.cn.
The company will soon
provide a landing page on its Google.cn site that links to Google.com.hk,
instead of automatically re-directing users to the Hong Kong site.