Timeline | Google’s rocky road into China

Timeline | Google’s rocky road into China

Shanghai: Google Inc has said it may pull out of China because it is no longer willing to accept censorship of its search results, in what would be a shock retreat from the world’s largest Internet market by users.

Google’s troubles in China are not unique and have affected other companies seeking a foothold in the huge Internet market.

Following are some key developments in Google’s bumpy foray into China:

2000 - Google develops Chinese-language interface for its Google.com website.

2002 - Google.com becomes temporarily unavailable to Chinese users, with interference from domestic competition suspected.

July 2005 - Google hires ex-Microsoft executive Lee Kai Fu as head of Google China. Microsoft sues Google over the move, claiming Lee will inevitably disclose propriety information to Google. The two rivals reach a settlement on the suit over Lee in December.

Jan 2006 - Google rolls out Google.cn, its China-based search page that censors search results in accordance with Chinese rules. Google says it made the trade-off to “make meaningful and positive contributions" to development in China while abiding by the country’s strict censorship laws.

Aug 2008 - Google launches free music downloads for users in China to better compete with market leader Baidu Inc.

March 2009 - China blocks access to Google’s Y video site.

June 2009 - A Chinese official accuses Google of spreading obscene content over the Internet. The comments come a day after Google.com, Gmail and other Google online services became inaccessible to many users in China.

Sept 2009 - Lee resigns as Google China head to start his own company. Google appoints sales chief John Liu to take over Lee’s business and operational responsibilities.

Oct 2009 - A group of Chinese authors accuses Google of violating copyrights with its digital library, with many threatening to sue.

Jan 2010 - Google announces it is no longer willing to censor searches in China and may pull out of the country.