China satisfied with Google search changes

The Chinese government has said it is satisfied that US Internet giant Google is now complying with Chinese law, after the search engine tweaked the way it directs users to an uncensored search page.

At the end of June, Google ended the automatic redirection of Chinese users to its uncensored Hong Kong-based page, taking them instead to a page with a link to the site.

An official at China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology confirmed the government's approval of the move at a press conference today.

Zhang Feng, head of the Ministry's communication development division, told a press conference: "After examination, we have concluded that it has basically met the requirements according to the relevant laws and regulations."

The statement should help to allay fears that still remained after Google's licence to trade in China was renewed on 9 July.

Google has been walking a tightrope in order to remain trading in the country: attempting to avoid self-censorship, while staying on the good side of Chinese authorities.

Relations between the two deteriorated in January after the company accused Chinese authorities of being behind a hacking attempt on Google's servers. The company threatened to pull out of China entirely.

In the event, the search giant ceased operations of its Google.cn site, and began redirecting them to its Hong Kong page.

Until its falling out with the country's government, Google had been making major in-roads into the Chinese market. At the end of last year, the company's share of the Chinese search market stood at 32.8 per cent.

Recent results have seen this share tumble to 27.3 per cent as Google loses ground to homegrown rival Baidu.