Google’s China search services are partially blocked following the expiration of its operating license.
The company said search queries from users in mainland China of the “suggest” function were blocked, but most other services were operating as normal.
Google said Tuesday it would no longer direct mainland Chinese search queries to Hong Kong, but would direct them to a landing page with the option of clicking through to google.com.hk.
Google’s internet content provider (ICP) license expired yesterday, without which its China operations could face a complete shut-down.
The partial blocking suggests that the government has not yet made a decision on Google’s status. Government officials have made no comment on the issue.
Wang Chen, head of the Information Office of the State Council, said that foreign firms operating in China “must abide by Chinese laws,” FT.com said.
Google said in a statement that “search queries produced by Google Suggest are being blocked for mainland users in China,” WSJ reported. “Normal searches that do not use query suggestions are unaffected.”
The story is being reported sporadically on Chinese web sites. Popular news site Sina.com reported today that Google could support “regular visits.”
Separately, the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping has rejected Google’s application to provide online mapping services in China.
The bureau is expected to issue licenses to 23 domestic companies, including Baidu, Alibaba and Sohu, China Daily reported.