China chokes Google Services

New York: As part of a broad campaign to tighten internal security, the Chinese government has draped a darker shroud over Internet communications in recent weeks, a situation that has made it more difficult for Google and its customers to do business.

The New York Times reported, “Chinese exporters find it difficult to place Google ads that appeal to overseas buyers.” Reports also state International companies have faced issues related to Gmail access, due to which setting up meetings on applications like Google Calendar has been a continuous challenge.

Biotechnology researchers in Beijing had trouble recalibrating a costly microscope this summer because they could not locate the online instructions to do so. And international companies have had difficulty exchanging Gmail messages among far-flung offices.

The pain is widespread. Two popular messaging services owned by South Korean companies, Line and Kakao Talk, were abruptly blocked this summer, as were other applications like Didi, Talk Box and Vower. U.S. giants like Twitter and Facebook have long been censored by China’s Great Firewall, a system of filters the government has spent lavishly on to control Internet traffic in and out of the country.

Even as Google and other big technology companies have lobbied heavily for an easing of the restrictions, Beijing’s broader scrutiny of multinationals has intensified. In late July, antimonopoly investigators raided Microsoft offices in four Chinese cities to interrogate managers and copy large amounts of data from hard drives. Qualcomm, a big maker of computer chips and a holder of wireless technology patents, faces a separate antimonopoly investigation.

The increasingly pervasive blocking of the web, together with other problems like severe air pollution in China’s urban centres, has led some businesses to transfer employees to regional hubs with more open and speedier internet, like Singapore. And more companies are considering similar moves.

“Companies overlooked internet problems when the economy was booming,” said Shaun Rein, managing director of the China Market Research Group, a Shanghai consulting firm. “But now a lot of companies are asking whether they really need to be in China.”

The chief technology officer of a startup in China said it had been especially difficult to use Google Drive this summer, making it a challenge for employees to share files and documents.

At present, Google Play is only partially accessible in China. Due to this reason, there has been a rise in the use of third party application stores. Companies in China are forced to create different versions of apps, which appear to be different from Google App store.

China has also blocked Google libraries that host coding scripts and fonts on its servers. Instead it has decided to create its own online libraries.


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