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Google makes compromise in China battle but could still lose its licence

Internet giant Google said it plans to stop automatically redirecting users of its Google.cn site to its Hong Kong page, in a bid to secure renewal of the company’s Chinese operating licence.

Chief legal officer David Drummond said in a blog posting that Google would soon stop all redirecting to Google.com.hk.

Google shut its Chinese portal in March over censorship concerns and hacking allegations and began sending users to its Hong Kong site instead. But the operating licence that allows it to use its old web address to send users on is up for renewal tomorrow.

Drummond said: “It’s clear from conversations we have had with Chinese government officials that they find the redirect unacceptable, and that if we continue redirecting users our Internet Content Provider licence will not be renewed.”

Meanwhile, Google’s larger rival in China, Baidu, will start hiring software engineers directly from the United States early next month, as it seeks to expand its technological capabilities and raise its global profile.

Baidu stands to be the biggest beneficiary of Google’s server relocation.

Baidu said yesterday it will hire 30 mid-to senior-level software engineers from Silicon Valley at a job fair on 10 July to drive new technology projects, its first direct hiring from the US.

Baidu is a household name in China but not well known overseas. Baidu Japan has been loss-making since its inception.