Microsoft Bing Gets Blocked in China Despite its Compliance with the Imposed Censorship

By Bill Toulas / January 24, 2019

As reported by Bloomberg, the Chinese government has ordered the blocking of Microsoft Bing, the only remaining US-owned web search engine that operated in the country. The block came into effect yesterday, so Microsoft did not have time to issue an official response to that yet, but they have confirmed that Bing is inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine the next steps. Until today, Bing was allowed to operate in the Middle Empire, as Microsoft agreed to censor the search engine’s results as per the blacklisting instructions that was provided by Beijing. The same was the case with Linkedin, also a Microsoft product, which also agreed to follow the censorship line without tricky deviations.

That said, Microsoft must have been surprised by this move, as the plans to open a new AI lab in Shanghai didn’t indicate that the Redmond company anticipated an adverse change in the way that the Chinese government sees them. However, it seems that the continuous tensions between USA and China have resulted in indistinct or even audacious blocks, although some analysts perceive the move to be part of the typical Chinese strategy to keep foreign players out of the local online ecosystem growth.

From what is evident from the general activities on that part, China is imposing stricter internet information regulations, campaigning against multiple news outlets and applications this first month of the year. More specifically, China has shut down more than 700 websites that spread what the government perceives to be illegal information. Going a step further, they deleted 9300 smartphone apps from locally accessible app stores that were deemed as harmful or accused of containing inappropriate content. Even the Baidu and Sohu search engines were ordered to suspend several news services, Tencent was ordered to fundamentally alter their operations, while video games were also thoroughly scrutinized.

The essence of the developments doesn’t give a lot for US-based companies to hope for in the future. The Chinese market is a massive piece of the revenue pie for a lot US tech giants like Apple, but their seamless operations in it are under threat right now and have been for the past months. The strife between the US and Chinese governments, the Trump’s call to Apple, the Huawei investigations, and the conflicting commercial interests have now culminated to tie everyone involved into a constantly strangulating Gordian knot.

What do you foresee in the near future for the China-US relations? Let us know where you stand in the comments below, and don’t hesitate to do the same on our socials as well, on Facebook and Twitter.

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