Well it looks like the “Will they renew or won’t they renew?” arc of “As Google-China Turns” is over and it has a happy ending for Google. In the past few weeks Google had backed off its hard line stance on China by not redirecting its in-country traffic to the Hong Kong site. Instead it started to offer the opportunity for Chinese visitors to go to the Hong Kong uncensored version via a link on Google China’s home page.
Industry experts like Danny Sullivan wondered if that move would be enough to keep Google’s license in China.
“If the Chinese government isn’t happy with them running uncensored search results out of the Hong Kong site — I don’t see why they’ll be any happier just because it becomes one click away,” Danny Sullivan, who runs the search-analysis Web site Search Engine Land, told Bloomberg News.
I agreed by saying that this offering by Google seemed pretty weak. Well, one man’s weak is another company’s license I suppose. Reuters reports that all is well again between Google and China for now.
Google Inc (GOOG.O) said on Friday that the Chinese authorities had renewed its license to operate a website, averting a potential shutdown of its flagship search page in the world’s biggest Internet market.
Google is obviously happy with this development considering the size of the opportunity in China and the fact that it is playing a distant second fiddle to China’s own Baidu. I think Google likes a good challenge since bing and others seem to not provide it for them anywhere else.
China has renewed our license,” a Google spokeswoman told Reuters. “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.”
So at least for today it looks like Google and China get to walk off into the sunset hand in hand while the credits roll. Also, we can all feel safe that Google will be able to continue its quest for world domination one Chinese searcher at a time. All is good with the world again.