Google's struggles continue as license awaits renewal

08:50, July 07, 2010      

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Google continued efforts to stay in the mainland's market, the success of which now rests with a renewal of its Internet content provider (ICP) license.

The search giant's ICP license number was again listed on its homepage, google.cn, on Monday, after disappearing for a few days. "It is only an update to the homepage rather than an official announcement of getting an annual renewal of the licence," Wang Jinhong, director of public relations for Google China, told the Global Times Tuesday.

Google's current ICP licence will expire in 2012 but needs to be renewed annually to ensure continued operations.

The company submitted applications for an annual renewal on June 29 but is still waiting for approval, Wang said.

"Without an ICP license, we can't operate a commercial website like Google.cn, so Google would effectively go dark in China," David Drummond, chief legal officer for Google, said on the search engine's official blog on June 28.

Renewal will remain uncertain if Google continues redirecting mainland users to its Hong Kong site, Drummond wrote.

The search giant is considering ending the automatic redirect while trying a new approach by linking to its Hong Kong website, he added.

Google's very likely to pass the renewal, China Business News quoted an unnamed source inside Google China as saying Tuesday.

"Even if they don't get the renewal, Google can still provide services to mainland users via google.com.hk or google.com," said Li Zhi, a senior analyst with Analysys International, a market research firm based in Beijing.

If Google can effectively retain mainland users, it will continue to earn money from advertisers, Li added.

Google Map's license in China is also under review. Google China's four other joint ventures and wholly-owned firms, however, have already passed their annual reviews.

Source: Global Times

(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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