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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Google's mapping service hits a bump in the road

By Chen Limin (China Daily)

13:35, February 02, 2012

Web firm unable to introduce new features without necessary license

BEIJING - The search engine Google Inc is unable to provide "new" online mapping services in China. That's because the company has yet to receive a license to conduct the business from China's industry regulator, citing a deadline of Feb 1.

The news is a negative signal for the company's operations in the country, where its market share is declining, said analysts.

The State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping is examining a license application it received last year from the Chinese division of Google, the bureau said in an e-mailed statement to China Daily on Wednesday.

However, it didn't elaborate what "new" online mapping services refers to in its statement.

It's not known when a result for the company's application will be announced, although other major online mapping services providers have been granted licenses. By Jan 31, the bureau had granted licenses to 279 online providers, it said.

Since last year, Google has seen its share of the online mapping market shrink, partly because of the uncertainty over whether it will be awarded a license.

In the third quarter of last year, about 61 percent of the daily traffic to online mapping websites went to Baidu Inc, China's biggest search engine by market share, followed by almost 10 percent for, and Google had 9 percent, according to the domestic research company Analysys International.

Moreover, an increasing number of websites that use the data provided by online mapping services providers have turned to Google's rivals, according to analyst Yan Xiaojia of Analysys International.

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