Despite directing traffic for Chinese users to its Hong Kong search portal, Google has received a yearly extension to its Internet license in China, allowing the company to operate its services in the country, Bloomberg reports.

Google’s move to direct searches offshore helps the company avoid China’s censorship rules, which bans pornography, gambling and content that criticises the countries ruling Communist Party, was put into place last year but the company still needs a license to operate other services in the country.

The search giant confirmed the license renewal with a short statement, noting:

“We can confirm that the government has renewed our ICP license”.

The company’s market share has slipped in China over the past 20 months, falling due to increased competition from Chinese company Baidu, which also moved to utilise Google’s Android platform to release its own mobile operating system, but also because it refused to comply with China’s requirements for websites to self-censor content.

China has already placed blocks on Google’s YouTube service and has restricted access to Facebook and Twitter, both of which have popular Chinese rival services.