Chinese authorities have extended Google's internet licence after the web giant agreed to end its automatic redirect of searches on its Chinese web site Google.cn to its Hong Kong landing page and instead allowed its users to get connected to the site on their own.
"We are very pleased that the government has renewed our ICP licence and we look forward to continuing to provide web search and local products to our users in China," Google said in an announcement.
Google said its search engine in Mainland China has been doing its best to increase access to information while abiding by Chinese law. "This has not always been an easy balance to strike, especially since our January announcement that we were no longer willing to censor results on Google.cn," it added.
Refusing to bow any further to the strict censorship laws under which it is compelled to operate in China, in March 2010 Google closed its search engine in China and began directing users to its censor-free Hong Kong site, which prompted the Chinese authorities to say that the redirect is unacceptable.
"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 licence will not be renewed (it's up for renewal on 30 June)."
"Without an ICP licence, Google cannot operate a commercial website like Google.cn," Google said.