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China blocks Microsoft's search engine Bing

27 January, 2019, 09:32 | Author: Sara Gill
  • Microsoft's Bing blocked in China in further crackdown on foreign tech services

Chinese internet users have reported they are no longer able to access Microsoft's Bing search engine on mobile devices.

The search engine world in China raised particular challenges for US-based tech giants, with Google itself leaving the country back in 2010.

Chinese users first noticed problems with the search engine late Wednesday, when the phrase "Can't access Bing" started popping up on social media. The website can be accessed from countries other than China.

The block is also "mostly symbolic", given Bing's tiny market share in China, he told AFP.

"We can confirm that Bing was inaccessible in China, but service is now restored", Microsoft said it a statement. For instance, in China, Bing would redirect users to the government's own content about Dalai Lama, while outside of the country it would link to Dalai Lama's Wikipedia page. It remained accessible even after Facebook and Google's services were blocked, because Microsoft worked with the Chinese government to develop a version deemed acceptable for local use.

Microsoft has a well-established research division in Beijing, with plans to open a new artificial intelligence lab in China. Microsoft Bans Cryptocurrency Ads on Bing Search Engine.

"There are times when there are disagreements, there are times when there are hard negotiations with the Chinese government, and we're still waiting to find out what this situation is about", he said. Just past year it became the center of controversy when it was alleged that the company was planning to roll out a censored variant of Google Search in the country, much to the dismay and furor over many employees of proponents of free speech.

Facebook attempted to set up an office in China past year, but appears to have been blocked.

Thus far, the Chinese authorities have not commented on Bing's apparent censorship.

"The fact that Bing is run by Microsoft, which is not a Chinese company, means that Beijing has less leverage over the company, compared to say Baidu", said Lokman Tsui, an assistant professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Google pulled out of China in 2009, and a rumoured return sparked heavy protests from staff, leading to the eventual decision to abandon the project which was, according to sources, already staffing in three figures.



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