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This article was published on June 14, 2011

Google seeks China’s approval for maps

Google seeks China’s approval for maps
Nancy Messieh
Story by

Nancy Messieh

Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]

In yet another struggle with Chinese authorities, Google is in the process of trying to get approval to keep their maps online in China. With a looming deadline of July 1, Google has to get China’s stamp of approval, otherwise it could find itself faced with legal action.

China introduced the new regulation, requiring a state license in order to operate maps in the country. While it has been confirmed that Google has applied for the license, the application is still under review. Under the new conditions, Google will be required to store all mapping data locally in China. The measures are said to be in place to prevent any sensitive information being leaked through the online maps.

Google isn’t alone in seeking China’s approval. Microsoft is still waiting for its license, while Nokia’s application has been approved. In order to apply for the license, foreign companies are required to set up joint ventures with local companies. In Google’s case, their Chinese partner is Guxiang Information Technology Co.

Google’s relations with China have been rocky at best. There seems to be an on-going cat and mouse game with China pulling the plug on Google’s products. Many of Google’s services are painfully slow in China, while others such as YouTube have been blocked altogether, and Gmail was recently added to that list. Google recently said that its email service was attacked by Chinese hackers, but it is unclear who ordered the attack.