Baidu ready to beat Google if US firm returns to China: CEO

Google China

Google declined to comment on the report and Li's comments. Google had, up to that point, been self-censoring search results in China but chose to discontinue the practice after the hacking incident.

China's government has indicated Google is welcome back as long as it follows the law.

"The decision to exit the Chinese market was a huge blunder, which made the company miss golden chances in the mainland's internet development", the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party said.

Notably, Google engineers have already created a functioning version of the censored search engine and the company is planning to make the platform accessible in China via a customised Android app.

Just earlier this month we caught a whiff of the "Dragonfly" project, which, reportedly, is a search engine developed by Google specifically for China, who is known for censoring the internet results for certain subjects, historical data, books and much more.

Google is looking at ways to re-enter China, home to the biggest pool of internet users, through a search app that complies with Chinese censorship as well as partnerships with local companies, people familiar with the matter have said. One group that wasn't critical of Google's decision was the Chinese government.

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Google's high-profile departure from China eight years ago came after the company said it was the victim of a sophisticated cyberattack that targeted the Gmail accounts of human rights activists there.

Google and China-based Tencent Holdings entered into a joint agreement that the USA company said would allow it to focus on building better products and services.

According to the document, Google has been using a tool they had named BeaconTower, which would help them see if the searches would end up where they're supposed to.

It emerged last week that the internet giant's search engine will block access to sites banned by the country's government, as well as search terms about human rights, democracy and religion.

The project Google is said to be developing highlights the enormous opportunity that technology companies see in China, where Internet growth is booming, with almost 800 million users, according to estimates. Facebook is also blocked in the country, but the social network is vying to gain a foothold. The company obtained a license to open a $30 million subsidiary there to function as a start-up incubator investing and consulting with small businesses.

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