Google's China webpage licence under review: government

BEIJING Wed Jul 7, 2010 4:23pm EDT

A Chinese national flag flies in front of Google's head office in Beijing July 6, 2010. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

A Chinese national flag flies in front of Google's head office in Beijing July 6, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Google's application to renew its webpage license in China is currently under review with no set deadline, a government official said on Wednesday.

"Google's annual check-in is under way," Wang Lijian, chief propaganda official at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) told Reuters.

Wang said that Google's submission was "relatively late" and that he was not sure when the results would be out.

China's MIIT is the body responsible for renewing and reviewing Internet Content Provider licenses.

Google said last week it will stop automatically rerouting users to its uncensored Hong Kong search site after Beijing indicated it will not renew Google's ICP license if it continued to do so.

Google now operates a landing page for its Google.cn website and clicking anywhere on the page brings the user to the Google.com.hk site. China is the world's biggest Internet market by users.

This development is the latest in a series of twists that occurred since Google unexpectedly warned in January it might quit the country over censorship concerns and after suffering a hacker attack it said came from within China.

(Reporting by Huang Yan and Melanie Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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