Google Takes 'New Approach' With Beijing

Google has announced a "new approach" in China as it battles with Beijing over censorship.

Until recently, the firm had been redirecting search inquiries in China to its unfiltered site in Hong Kong to get round censorship issues.

Google has said it will now stop this after Beijing warned it could lose its licence to operate in the country.

Users will instead be directed to a page from which they can get a link to access the Hong Kong site.

Google said it was hopeful that this would allow it to continue operating in China, where its licence to do business expires on Wednesday.

BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones said the move appeared to be "a significant concession" but added there was no guarantee the Chinese authorities would accept this arrangement.

Google pulled out of mainland China in March, saying it was no longer willing to accept government censorship.

While Google is the world's most popular search engine, it is a distant number two in the Chinese market, which is dominated by Baidu.

The government hopes that nearly half the population will have access to the internet within five years. That figure is nearly 30 per cent at the moment.

Because of the size and growth rate of China's internet population, the loss of business there is seen as likely to harm Google's future growth prospects.

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