Google business in China hit by service disruptions

Google's business in China is taking a beating after the company experienced service disruptions in the wake of announcing that it had stopped...

Google's business in China is taking a beating after the company experienced service disruptions in the wake of announcing that it had stopped censoring Chinese-language searches.

Google has also reported the partial blocking of its mobile internet services in the week following the announcement.

The exact cause of the search disruptions is unclear, with Google first pointing to code changes as the problem and then later blaming China.

Whatever the cause, the service disruptions have proved unsettling to advertisers and users, many of whom are switching to Baidu, the biggest search provider in China.

Advertisers have indicated that they will switch to other search engines if the slowdown in traffic continues on Google searches now being routed through Hong Kong.

Because Google's decision to flout censorship rules angered Chinese authorities, some of Google's partners in China have distanced themselves from the internet firm, fearing retribution.

Revenues from search advertising in China have dropped by up to 50% compared with the period before Google moved its Chinese search to its Hong Kong site, according to the Financial Times.

Observers have called Google's move short-sighted as it could affect the company's future business prospects. Many have suggested that Google has underestimated Beijing's ability to strike back.

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