Google allegedly working on censored search engine for Chinese market

Report: Google's Plan to Launch Censored Search Engine in China Revealed

Google's plan comes during a time that China increased its scrutiny into dealings that involve tech firms from the USA including Apple, Qualcomm and Facebook amidst the increased trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Censorship seems to be a way of life in China, as Baidu, the number one search engine in China, mentioned "censorship" during its second quarter 2018 earnings call on Tuesday when Alicia Yap, analyst at Citigroup Global Markets Asia, asked about "the recent operating environment for the overall newsfeed and advertising content censorship".

Google (GOOG, GOOGL) reportedly plans to launch a censored version of its search engine in China.

Google, which quit China's search engine market in 2010, has been actively seeking ways to re-enter China where many of its products are blocked by regulators. Google had, up to that point, been self-censoring search results in China but chose to discontinue the practice after the hacking incident.

The Intercept also reports that Google CEO Sundar Pichai met with a senior Chinese government official in December past year and the government has been shown the service and Android app working.

Global tech giant Google is developing a new search engine for China that will be in line with the country's stringent censorship rules, according to a report by The Intercept. "But we don't comment on speculation about future plans", said Taj Meadows, a Google spokesman.

"Google is waking up to smell the coffee", said Andy Mok, founder and president of Beijing-based consultancy Red Pagoda Resources LLC.

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The main reason Google took its business out of China was that they believed in free speech and freedom of expression.

The apps are dubbed as Maotai and Longfei and are still to receive the final approval from the Chinese government.

Project "Dragonfly", as it is codenamed, involves a custom Android app that has already been demonstrated to the Chinese government and could be launched as early as within the next six months.

But the report pummelled shares of US-listed Baidu, which dominates China's search engine market.

China of course is widely considered to have one of the most repressive Internet censorship schemes in the world, which is created to prevent criticism of the ruling Communist Party and suppress dissent and other information deemed to be risky. Companies need a great deal of resources to meet the censorship demands imposed by the government, and failing to do so can be serious. The Intercept reported that the work has been ongoing since the spring of 2017 and was accelerated in December following a meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and a top government official.

What has been censored in China's has varied somewhat over the years.

Last month, the senator criticized US airlines for acquiescing to the Chinese government's demands that they remove references to Taiwan from their websites. What is surprising, however, is that Google, back in 2010, withdrew its services from China after it discovered a cyberattack from within the country that targeted it and dozens of other companies.

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