Google appears to be getting closer to shutting down its strictly monitored search engine in China, according to news reports.
The reports, which cited people close to the situation, indicate that Google advertisers in China are being advised to switch over to rival Baidu Inc., out of fears that Google could abandon the country.
Following a targeted cyber attack on Gmail accounts emanating from China in December, Google announced on Jan. 12 that it intended to give all of its users open access to the Internet.
Google has since been negotiating with the Chinese government, as such a move would clash with China’s censorship laws. Those laws forbid access to Internet sites that criticize the government, display pornography or promote certain religious material.
A spokeswoman for Google declined to comment specifically on the negotiations, but reiterated the company’s intentions to remain an open-access site and said Google will soon make an announcement on the outcome of its dealings with China.
[Read more at CNN]