Back in March Google [GOOG] decided to redirect its Chinese search users to their Hong Kong site in an attempt to get round the censorship dispute they were having with the Chinese Government.
Now it looks like Google has had a change of heart, as they have just announced on their blog that they will stop redirecting Chinese visitors to their Hong Kong site.
The reason Google has done this is because their Internet Content Provider license is China is up for renewal tomorrow, and if they had left things as they were the license could have been turned down.
We currently automatically redirect everyone using Google.cn to Google.com.hk, our Hong Kong search engine. This redirect, which offers unfiltered search in simplified Chinese, has been working well for our users and for Google. However, it’s clear from conversations we have had with Chinese government officials that they find the redirect unacceptable—and that if we continue redirecting users our Internet Content Provider license will not be renewed (it’s up for renewal on June 30). Without an ICP license, we can’t operate a commercial website like Google.cn—so Google would effectively go dark in China.
Now when a visitor from China visits Google.cn they will be taken to a landing page that will feature a link so that users can click to take them to the uncensored Hong Kong site.
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