Google may be set to announce its plans for its China operations and the closure of its search engine in China as early as today.
Reports in the Financial Times on Monday cited persons familiar with the matters. The FT speculates that Google may close all its business in China, making around 600 people out of jobs. A closure of full operations would see the search giants Google.cn domain closed down as well as a research subsidary that operates in China.
Earlier this month the WSJ reported that Google was trying to lock in a deal with China. Google was reportedly in talks with several Chinese agencies “to allow it to operate some parts of its business in a patchwork arrangement”.
Google revealed in January that they, along with a number of other large companies in the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors, were targeted in a sophisticated cyber-attack. The attack on their infrastructure originated in China, and resulted in the theft of intellectual property.
Due to this attack, and the background behind it, Google took a second look at their operations in China, particularly Google.cn, where they currently offer censored search results as part of an agreement with China's government. Google took a big step and informed the government of China that it was no longer willing to provide censored results, and entered into discussions regarding how it could do this without breaking Chinese law. It appears China and Google have been unable to reach an agreement and that the search giant may well close its offices.