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March 25, 2010

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Home » Business » IT

Life after Google proves no problem

A POPULAR Chinese Web portal said yesterday it was taking over operations of two services it developed and formerly operated with Google just a day after the search-engine giant moved its operations to Hong Kong. now has the reins of the two sites it ran with Google up until Tuesday.

Google said yesterday it was still providing censored searches on China's mainland to some customers that held contracts requiring it.

Chu Meng, a public relations manager for, an online forum with 32 million registered users, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that it was taking complete control of the social networking community Tianya Laiba and of Tianya Wenda, a question-and-answer service using the technology behind the now-defunct Google Answers.

"The technology and operation of these two products will now be completely taken over by Tianya," Chu wrote.

On Tuesday, Google began redirecting queries made to its mainland search address,, to an uncensored site in Hong Kong, where the firm is not legally required to censor results there.

Industry executives said that Google's revenues were diving as companies shied away from placing new ads with the search engine. Deals with China's top two mobile companies were also in doubt.

In Hong Kong, executives with China Unicom Ltd, the listed unit of one of China's biggest mobile phone companies, hinted that it would shelve plans to offer two cell phones running Google's Android program.

Asked by reporters if the deal to offer the phones made by Motorola and Samsung was still moving forward, China Unicom Chairman Chang Xiaobing said the company was "open to cooperation with all the vendors but at the same time we need to abide by the laws and regulations in China."

The People's Daily yesterday accused Google in a front-page commentary of cooperating with US intelligence forces and suggesting its decision to move its search engine to Hong Kong was a salvo by US Internet warriors.

"Its cooperation and coordination with US intelligence agencies is well known," the commentary on the front page of the newspaper's overseas edition said.

"Considering the United States' big push in recent years to prepare for Internet war, perhaps this could be an exploratory pre-dawn battle," said the commentary.

The US State Department has expressed concern about Google's allegations of cyber attacks but said on Tuesday it was not involved in its decision to pull some of its business out of China.

Jessica Powell, Google's spokeswoman, said the company was still censoring some search functions for mainland customers who had required it in their contracts but all censoring done by Google would be phased out over a time period she would not specify.

"If there are cases where we were providing a censored search and were contractually required to provide a censored search, then we will honor those requirements," she said.

She declined to name the customers, but Li Zhi, an analyst for Analysys International in Beijing, said Google was likely referring to search services on sites such as Sina.



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