Microsoft says its Bing search engine blocked in China


Microsoft's Bing search engine

Microsoft’s Bing blocked in China in further crackdown on foreign tech services

“We’ve confirmed that Bing is now inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps”, the company said in a statement.

Microsoft did say the company is “engaged” to figure out what’s next here, so this story will likely develop over the coming days.

China has banned another American technology, and this time it is Microsoft’s Bing. Search engines are always a hot topic. The search engine’s home page too remains inaccessible from within mainland China.

Credit: Casimiro PT/ShutterstockMicrosoft’s Bing search engine has been unexpectedly blocked in China without any official statement from the government.

Microsoft Corp’s Bing search engine has been blocked in China, the company said on Wednesday (Jan 23), making it the latest foreign technology service to be shut down behind the country’s Great Firewall.

The website was blocked due to “an accidental technical error”, according to Bloomberg, citing two anonymous sources – rather than a deliberate attempt to restrict Bing, which already complies with local censorship rules.

Ban on Bing, as the publication noted, is the second major blow to the tech giant since November 2017 when its video calling platform Skype was taken down from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

But President Xi Jinping’s government has steadily tightened control over online activity. Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, deferred comment to “other relevant, competent authorities”.

Following the project being made public, 1,000 Google employees signed a letter in August that called for the search company to abandon its efforts to create the censored Chinese search engine.

Smith said Microsoft has “days when there are either hard negotiations or even disagreements” with Chinese authorities about search results on Bing.

“There are times when there are disagreements, there are times when there are hard negotiations with the Chinese government, and we’re still waiting to find out what this situation is about”, he said.

The government’s Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) watchdog did not respond to faxed questions about Bing’s blocked website.

Bing complies with Chinese censorship rules, but its link to United States tech giant Microsoft might have put it in the government’s crosshairs as Beijing and Washington spar over trade and tech issues. But China has more than 770 million internet users and a thriving online shopping market, making it impossible for top tech companies to ignore.

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