By Jason Theodorou

Google said on Friday that Beijing has renewed the license it requires to operate from China, allowing the search giant to continue to tap in to the country’s burgeoning internet market in spite of disagreements with the Chinese government over censorship practices.

A statement by Google’s lawyer, David Drummond, said: ‘We are very pleased that the government has renewed our internet content provider license, and we look forward to continuing to provide web search and local products to our users in China’.

Google has closed its China search engine, but wanted to maintain a website offering its wider range of services. There have been tensions between Google and the Chinese government ever since the search engine began redirecting users in China to its unfiltered search site in Hong Kong, an act of defiance towards China’s strict censorship laws. Google has since said that it would stop automatically redirecting users, instead sending them to a ‘landing page’ where users can choose whether to go to the Hong Kong site.

Google objected to censorship of its China site google.cn, and said in January that it was prepared to withdraw from the market. Wang Chen, head of China’s Information Office at the State Council, said last month ‘We’ve long said that to develop in China, you must abide by Chinese laws’.

Google does not occupy a dominant position in the internet market in China, occupying only 30% of the market.

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