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Google's market share has slipped 5 percent in China, but the company appears to have finally reached an understanding with Chinese officials.  (Source: IT168.com)
Relations between America's largest search firm and the largest communist nation appear to be warming

After it stopped automatically redirecting Chinese visitors of Google.cn to the uncensored search engine hosted in Hong Kong, Google's operating license for its search business was renewed by the Chinese government, averting a potentially permanent exit from the population-packed Chinese nation.

A recent statement from China's Ministry of Industry and Information indicates that Google is now believed to be in full compliance with the nation's demands.  Though the statement is currently unavailable, 
Reuters is reporting that Google announced on its Chinese blog that it will also cutting ties with two sites under the umbrella of Chinese community site Tianya.

Tianya is the 12th most visited site in China, and 72nd most visited site in the world.  Google bought a stake in Tianya.cn back in August 2007.  The company provides blog, photo, search, and political services.  Dealing with such sites might force Google to choose between censorship or defying the government, a position that Google is loathe to be in.  Google reportedly writes, "As it was announced earlier this year, this week we will be ending technical cooperation with Tianya on Tianya Come and Tianya Questions."

Zhang Feng, head of the ministry's communication development division, says this and other moves show that Guxiang -- the company that operates Google Chinese websites -- is eager to "abide by Chinese law".  He states, "After examination, we have concluded that it has basically met the requirements according to the relevant laws and regulations."

While Google has made some moves that China supports, it still offers users the option on its search homepage to travel to the uncensored Hong Kong search.  Ironically, for most in China that option will do little, though, as most disallowed sites are filtered by the national-level firewall.

Zhang would only comment on Google's allowance of the Hong Kong uncensored search, "As for the question of Hong Kong, this is an operational act made by the company itself."

The Google-China conflict boiled over after Google was hacked by Chinese hackers exploiting a flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer.  Google experienced denial and lack of cooperation from Chinese officials, leading it to question it overarching strategy in China.  

The dispute led to some U.S. politicians to bombard China, which is expected to soon pass the U.S. in economic size, with criticism.  At around the same time internet domain name registration and hosting service GoDaddy announced its decision to exit the Chinese market.

While Google had been gaining ground on the Chinese-local search engine Baidu, it has since lost marketshare over the course of the dispute.  Currently Google receives 27.3 percent of China's search traffic, down from 32.8 percent at the end of 2009, according to iResearch.





"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg



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