Google examining impact of new China laws on products

Google examining impact of new China laws on products

Shanghai: Google Inc is examining the impact new Chinese laws could have on its Google Maps service that could see it shut down if the company does not meet government requirements.

China’s State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping announced new regulations last month that required companies providing online map and location services to apply for a licence.

To qualify for a license, service providers would need to keep map servers storing data within the country and have no record of information leaks for the last three years, the China Daily reported.

The laws would give China the right to close providers that failed to qualify for a licence, the paper said on Thursday.

Google may not meet those requirements, analysts said.

In March, Google announced that it was going to move its China servers to Hong Kong following a high profile diplomatic spat with Beijing over censorship.

The company also admitted in May that its cars photographing streets around the world had for years accidentally collected personal data sent across wireless networks.

The announcement sparked numerous overseas probes and class action lawsuits. A multi-state US investigation was announced earlier this week as well as an informal investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission.

“Whether Google can meet the requirements set out by the Chinese authorities is not clear," said Edward Yu, chief executive of Beijing-based technology research firm Analysys International.

Many Google products and services such as Google Groups, YouTube and Blogger are already blocked in China.

“China recently implemented wide-ranging rules related to online maps. We are examining the regulations to understand their impact on our products in China," a Google spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Google did not say whether it had applied for a licence.

China’s online search leader Baidu said it had applied for a mapping license and expected to hear back from the authorities in early July.

According to the China Daily, the mapping bureau had approved licenses for 18 domestic companies and several foreign companies had applied for a licence.

Google Maps is one of the company’s most popular products, enabling users to search local maps and plan routes.