China Renews Google's License to Operate

A man walks past the Google company logo outside the Google China headquarters in Beijing (file)

Google says its license to operate in China has been renewed.

The U.S.-based Internet company issued a short announcement Friday, ending weeks of speculation whether it would be permitted to continue serving the world's largest online community.

The statement said Google's license has been renewed and that it looks forward to continuing to offer web search and other services in China. The Chinese government has not yet commented publicly.

Google announced late last month that it was changing its policies in response to threats that its license would be withdrawn.

Frustrated by requirements that it censor web searches in China, Google this year began to automatically transfer Chinese users to an uncensored website in Hong Kong. But since late June, the Internet company has instead provided a link on its China home page allowing users to go to the Hong Kong site themselves.

In addition, Google officials said last week that it had disabled a feature on its search engine in China that provides users with suggested words as they type a query.

While Google does not censor searches on the Hong Kong site, the Chinese government is able to block mainland users from accessing certain websites that they find there. It had been unclear until Friday whether Chinese authorities would be satisfied with the compromise.