Google Inc., which moved its Chinese search-engine service offshore last year to avoid the country’s online censorship rules, said China’s government renewed the company’s Internet license.
“We can confirm that the government has renewed our ICP license,” Google said in an e-mailed statement today, without elaborating. The company owns the world’s most popular search engine.
Google has been losing market share in China’s search market to Baidu Inc. since January 2010, when the Mountain View, California-based company said it was no longer willing to comply with China’s requirements for Websites to self-censor content. Two months later, Google redirected Chinese users to an unfiltered site in Hong Kong.
China, the world’s largest Internet market with 485 million Web users at the end of June, bans pornography, gambling and content critical of the ruling Communist Party. It already blocks Google’s YouTube site as well as social-networking websites run by Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc.