China satisfied with Google search engine tweaks

BEIJING, July 20 (BestGrowthStock) – China is satisfied that U.S.
Internet giant Google Inc (Read more about Google Stock Analysis) (GOOG.O: ) is complying with Chinese
laws after it tweaked the way it directs users to an unfiltered
search page, a senior official said on Tuesday.

The comments from a Ministry of Industry and Information
Technology official largely echoed previous Chinese statements,
but are still likely to be seen as good news for the company as
Beijing has been coy about its long-term future in China.

Google is trying to achieve the delicate balance of ending
self-censorship of searches, while holding onto its business
foothold in a country where control of information has been key
to ensuring the Communist Party’s decades in power.

Google’s market share in China continued to slip in the
second quarter, falling to 27.3 percent from 29.5 percent in
the first, according to data from research firm iResearch.

Before its high-profile spat with Beijing, Google was
slowly gaining ground on China’s top search engine Baidu
(BIDU.O: ). At the end of last year, Google’s market share was
32.8 percent.

Guxiang, a company that operates Google’s websites in
China, had committed to “abide by Chinese law,” and ensure the
company did not provide illegal content, said Zhang Feng, head
of the ministry’s communication development division.

“After examination, we have concluded that it has basically
met the requirements according to the relevant laws and
regulations,” Zhang told a news conference.

Google unexpectedly warned in January it might quit China
over censorship concerns and after suffering a hacker attack it
said came from within the country, but eventually terminated
its search service and started rerouting users to its
unfiltered Hong Kong site. [ID:nSGE60C01H]

In early July the company ended automatic redirection,
saying Beijing was unhappy about the system and would not renew
Google’s operating license if it continued.

Visitors are now invited to click through to the Hong Kong
page instead of being sent straight there. China’s firewall
remains in place however, meaning most sensitive sites turned
up on searches are inaccessible from within the country’s
borders. [ID:nSGE6680F9]

Google’s move was seen as a sign that the firm would fight
to hold onto as much of its China business as possible, and
Beijing said earlier this month it had renewed its Chinese
operating licence after the company “made improvements”.

Guxiang accepted that government regulators will have the
right to supervise content provided by the firm, Zhang said,
declining to comment on directly on Google’s provision of the
link to its uncensored Hong Kong page.

“As for the question of Hong Kong, this is an operational
act made by the company itself,” he added, without elaborating.

China’s decision to allow Google to continue operating in
China apparently resolved a months-long censorship dispute that
had threatened the U.S. company’s future in the world’s top
Internet market by users.

The move also removed another thorn in U.S.-China relations
and reflects Beijing’s desire to be seen as friendly to major
foreign firms in spite of ideological differences, analysts

Stock Market News

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard, Editing by Emma Graham-Harrison
and Jonathan Thatcher)

China satisfied with Google search engine tweaks