Google plays down reports of China block
Google has admitted that its own reports of its search engine being fully blocked in China were a false alarm.
Google shares dipped after the company’s availability dashboard reported that its internet search, mobile and advertising services could not be accessed in China.
Because of the way we measure accessibility in China, it’s possible that our machines can overestimate the level of blockage
The sell-off underscored investors’ ongoing concerns about the fragility of Google’s position in the country, after the company had a very public dispute with Beijing over internet censorship earlier in the year.
However, internet users in the country reported no problems accessing the Chinese-language search page Google.cn. Google later said in an emailed statement, “because of the way we measure accessibility in China, it’s possible that our machines can overestimate the level of blockage.”
“That appears to be what happened last night when there was a relatively small blockage. It appears now that users in China are accessing our properties normally,” the company added.
The world’s biggest search engine has been reporting sporadic disruptions to its mainland China services since it threatened in January to pull out of the country because of its internet censorship practices and an attack on its servers.
Google generates a tiny portion of its nearly $24 billion in annual revenue in China, where the company lags home-grown search powerhouse Baidu.
But China, the world’s largest internet market by users, represents an important growth opportunity for Google, which has seen its growth slow in mature markets like the US and Western Europe.
Access to Google’s various online services have long been spotty in China. In recent months, Google has reported partial blocking of access to its search, mobile and news services on many occasions.
“The last two or three months what we are seeing is nothing but posturing,” said Caris & Co analyst Sandeep Aggarwal. “It’s posturing by Google and it’s posturing by the local regulators there.”
“Google is a truly global company and if you’re a global company you cannot not operate in the world’s largest internet population.”