Securities Daily, one of the most influential financial newspapers of China has dismissed reports about Google’s plans for a comeback to the country after eight years.
Citing “relevant departments”, the newspaper owned by the Communist Party of China, put an end to speculations arising out of recent reports that said that the internet giant was planning a return.
Earlier this week, The Intercept had reported that Google has been working on a censored search engine tailored only for the Chinese market. The custom Android app would filter websites and keywords that are prohibited by Chinese government, including democracy, religion and information about the Chinese leadership, it had said.
Citing “three people familiar with the project”, The Information, a tech media based in Silicon Valley, reported that Google is developing a news-aggregation app for use in China that would comply with the country’s strict censorship laws as part of its plans to re-enter the world’s largest internet market in the near future.
However, due to the current tension between Washington and Beijing, China’s tightening censorship, and the recent trade war, it is not easy for Google to regain Chinese market at the moment.
Some analysts also opined that the leaked information could just be a part of Google’s PR strategy to trigger the rise in its stock price after being hit by a record-breaking fine by EU regulators in mid-July for violating antitrust laws.
Google quit China in 2010 protesting against censorship by the Chinese government. Its exit allowed local competitors, such as Baidu to rise. However, China’s huge internet population has always tempted the tech giant. Google still provides several mobile apps including Google Translate, to the Chinese market. In June, it also announced a USD 550 million investment in JD.com.
Before the rumor of Google’s return attracted attention, Facebook gained approval last week to set up an innovation center in Hangzhou, the hometown of Alibaba. However, the approval was abruptly withdrawn by the authority after a couple of hours.
People familiar with the matter told reporters that it is China’s national internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, that hindered Facebook’s big breakthrough in the country due to the Administration’s disagreement with Zhejiang’s local government.
This short-lived success underlines how difficult it can be for foreign internet giants to get past the doors to the Chinese market and navigate through its bureaucracy. Due to the Chinese government’s Great Firewall, even an innovation hub, let alone the social network, is wary of the Chinese authorities.