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

Google China

Google China

Google has neither confirmed nor denied these reports. Chinese state media welcomed Google back to the country, saying things will be fine as long as the company follows the law, according to a story in The Washington Post. Though Li is potentially facing down one of the largest tech companies in the world, his bravado is not without merit; Baidu had reportedly wrestled away about 70% of Chinese market share in areas of direct competition when Google finally called it quits in 2010.

In a report from The Intercept, it seems that Google has been steadily refining its search engine over the years to ensure that it complies with China's regulations, namely preventing certain words, phrases, or topics from being discovered that have been officially censored by the local government.

These are the sites Google would likely to censor in its upcoming Android search app for China.

"They compiled a list of thousands of websites that were banned, and then integrated this information into a censored version of Google's search engine so that it would automatically manipulate Google results, purging links to websites prohibited in China from the first page shown to users".

But when news that Google was considering a comeback with censored apps, Baidu's stock price fell 7.7 per cent. News of a potential return have been met with resistance from employees and criticism from human rights advocates and lawmakers.

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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.

However, Google was able to see these search terms and note exactly what was blocked by the ruling Communist Party regime in China.

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.

Does that mean that Google has made a decision to put potential financial gains ahead of supporting the internet freedom that's available in so many other countries? Facebook is also blocked in the country, but the social network is vying to gain a foothold.

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