Google has had one of its search features blocked by Chinese authorities as the company awaits the renewal of its Internet Content Provider (ICP) licence, Associated Press reports.
In an e-mail, Google spokesperson Jessica Powell said: "It appears that search queries produced by Google Suggest are being blocked for mainland users in China. "Normal searches that do not use query suggestions are unaffected."
Google's 'suggest' features offers users search queries when they start typing on the search bar.
The ICP licence allows websites to operate within China, and is granted by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Chinese authorities have the right to shut down any website operating without the licence.
Google has also failed to be included on the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM) plans, raising more uncertainty over the internet giant's position in China.
Chinese authorities have said that the company was late in applying for its licence renewal, leading to it not being included in the plans.
Head of the Data Centre of China Internet, Hu Yanping, told China Daily: "Google will hardly be able to get a licence (for mapping services). Nor does it have a good chance of getting its ICP license renewed."