INTERNET SEARCH OUTFIT Google has only one day left to apply for a mapping licence in China as its relations with the Middle Kingdom continue to sour.
The latest in the strife between Google and the Glorious People's Republic of China sees the company procrastinating over sending in its application for a mapping licence. China's State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping hasn't received the application from Google yet and the Internet search giant has only until 31 March to submit its paperwork in order to maintain its service.
Bloomberg reported that Google failed to answer questions about the one day deadline but bureau spokesman Kou Jingwei said Google knew about the deadline because it was announced as part of new regulations back in May of last year.
When the most popular search engine in the world met the biggest Internet censor antagonism was always on the cards. Google's defiance in the face of the Glorious People's Republic of China's censorship started last year and shows no signs of abating. Google has pointed the finger at China for hacking into its Gmail service and blocking its search results, amongst a host other issues. But China is now on the front foot with the power to issue a mapping licence to the company.
The mapping licence was introduced to stop companies indulging in illegal practices and increase Chinese security so it has the power to veto mapping in the country. Since February, over 105 websites have been granted applications for mapping licences, including China's own Internet search provider Baidu, which is a bigger player than Google in China.
Herein lies the issue for Google. If it fails to secure a mapping licence, it will lose further ground to Baidu and slip in relevance in one of the most fertile markets in the world. That will also give China more control over Internet content and data in its own country, which is exactly what the Chinese government wants.
The State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping said the 31 March deadline must be meet to avoid "administrative actions" and it will take until July for the application to be approved.
"We are examining the regulations to understand their impact on our maps products in China," Google said in a statement.
It might be a little too late. µ
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