Google has applied for a licence to keep on serving maps in China, in the face of a government crackdown on unauthorised mapping services and declined to confirm the report when contacted by AFP and calls to the government agency were not answered. Google has seen its share of the lucrative Chinese search market slide to the profit of local rival Baidu as tensions with Beijing increased over a number of cyberattacks the US web giant claims originated in China and there was no indication whether the Gmail spying campaign was related to a China-based cyberattack on Google that prompted the company early last year to stop bowing to Internet censors and reduce its presence in the country……….
Google has applied for a license to keep on serving maps in China, in the face of a government crackdown on unauthorized mapping services and it announced that map providers would have to receive licenses from the government to operate in the country and they would be expected to host their maps of China within the country’s borders. China’s State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping said on Tuesday Google had applied for the license through a joint venture company. The application is currently under review. Chinese authorities introduced new rules last year, stating that all companies providing online maps must obtain a license. Companies that do not meet the July 1 deadline will face prosecution by the Chinese government. Google offered no new comment, only citing its previous response: “We’re in discussions with the government about how we could offers a maps product in China.” The search giant is applying for the license as it has already faced difficulties with Chinese government regulations. Last year, Google‘s China operations faced a possible shutdown after the company announced it would no longer abide by the country’s censorship laws and filter out certain search queries in China. The government, however, decided to renew a critical content provider license for Google.
But while Google continues to operate in the country, some of its products are blocked, including YouTube and Blogger. China regularly blocks websites containing politically sensitive content. Gmail has also been slow to access at times, the result of Chinese government interference, according to Google. The company currently has a 19.2 percent share of the search engine market in China, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. Domestic company Baidu is ranked first with a 75.8 percent share. China is instituting the new regulations to prevent security leaks of sensitive locations and to ensure all online maps are accurate for users. Companies that wish to qualify, however, must store all their mapping data in servers located in the country. China‘s State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping also revealed a change to the mapping regulations earlier this month. Authorities now state foreign companies can only apply for a mapping license through joint ventures with local Chinese companies. In Google‘s case, the company that applied for the license, Guxiang Information Technology Co., is a joint venture between the search giant and a local Chinese partner.