In an effort to renew their Internet Content Provider (ICP) License in China, Google has announced that it will not longer be automatically redirecting users from their China search engine (google.cn) to their Hong Kong one (google.com.hk). By midnight tonight their license will expire, but it is still uncertain whether this change will be enough to secure a renewed one.
The new google.cn will simply feature a tab that users can click on to be redirected to the Hong Kong version of the site and provide music downloads and text translate which are unfiltered by the Chinese government.
The original Chinese version of the Google website was created in 2006 after several filters blocked users from accessing google.com. In March, Google began automatically redirecting Chinese users to the uncensored Hong Kong version of the site because they no longer wished to comply with the Beijing government’s censorship rules. Since then the site has experienced both wide popularity with Chinese users who support the search engine and extensive criticism from Beijing officials.
For Google, being granted a renewed ICP license is vital to their growth because without it, they could potentially be loosing out on access to one of the largest and fastest growing markets in the world. At Urban Geko, our Orange County Web Design team, is unfamiliar with issues of internet censorship. We are as certain about users being granted access to search engines as we are to the sun rising the next day. Rather, we must work around the notion that search engines are a powerful, immovable platforms around which we must develop SEO website design.