China launches state-approved search engine

China's communist party propaganda organ, state-run newspaper the People's Daily, has launched its own search engine.

Originally named Goso while under development, the launch yesterday brought a new name - Jike - and unexpected public support from some of the Chinese Internet's leading lights.

According to a report in a Wall Street Journal blog, executives from web portal Sohu, English language news outlet Sina and China's current search engine leader Baidu all turned up to 'offer their support'. We're not entirely sure what incentives the execs were given in order to make them show up, but they seem to have been rather persuasive.

People's Daily said it had chosen the name because it means 'immediate' and is pronounced a bit like 'geek' in English.

The team behind the new search engine has some sort of pedigree with ex-Googler Liu Jun heading up the 100-strong team responsible for building the technical side of the project from scratch.

It's an ambitious project for the Chinese government as Baidu and Google are both well established in the country, although both have been subjected to intense scrutiny and heavy censorship at the hands of the communist regime.

China regularly blocks searches for individuals, organisations and historical events which it would rather forget.

We'll assume that Jike won't be quite so keen to try and buck government interference.