In the midst of tension between China and Google, the search engine giant has had its license renewed. “China has renewed our license. We are very pleased that the government has renewed our ICP license and we look forward to continuing to provide web search and local products to our users in China.”
In January Google issued a warning they might quit working with China due to the strict censorship requirements of the government. By March, Google had had enough and automatically started redirecting visitors to a search site in Hong Kong that allowed visitors access to uncensored results. The fact the license was renewed shows the tension between the two might be thawing.
Google had a $24 billion annual revenue and China makes up a very small slice of that. However, since China has only one quarter of the country’s population using the Internet, the growth potential is enormous.
The compromise between the Chinese government and Google is that now instead of automatically redirecting visitors to an uncensored search, the visitor must now “click and choose” the option to go to the uncensored site.
“In China, it is very common that you need to give the government face if you want to do business here. The double-click rule (not automatically forwarding visitors to the uncensored site) shows that Google can compromise and give them face,” said Edward Yu of Analysis International, a technology research firm.
Along with the censorship, attempts made by Chinese hackers to get into the GMail accounts of human rights activists caused tension. The Google and China relation problems spilled over into relations between the US and China. Tensions between the two countries have become eased as well.