Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, announced on Monday that it had discontinued its service in mainland China due to low usage. One of its final products in the second-largest economy in the world will no longer be produced as a result of the change.
Users are now redirected to the Hong Kong version of the service from Google Translate’s dedicated website for mainland China. This, however, is inaccessible from China’s mainland.
Due to low usage, Google Translate will no longer be available in mainland China, the company announced in a statement.
Google’s relationship with the Chinese market has been tumultuous. The Chinese government’s strict online censorship prompted the American technology giant to withdraw its search engine from China in 2010. The Chinese government has also effectively blocked its other services, including Google Maps and Gmail. As a result, regional rivals like the search engine Baidu and Tencent, a leader in gaming and social media have taken over in terms of search and translation on the Chinese internet.
These days, Google’s presence in China is incredibly limited. Smartphones and other hardware components are made in China. However, The New York Times revealed in its report from last month that Google has moved some of the manufacturing of its Pixel smartphones to Vietnam.
Though the Google Play Store is inaccessible in China, the company is also attempting to convince Chinese programmers to create apps for its Android operating system that will be made available globally.
In 2018, Google was considering re-launching its search engine in China. However, the company ultimately abandoned that plan in response to criticism from both employees and politicians.
The ongoing tensions between the United States and China in the technology sector have put American businesses in the crosshairs. Washington is still concerned about China’s potential access to sensitive technologies in industries like semiconductors and artificial intelligence. American chip manufacturer Nvidia revealed that Beijing would be unable to purchase certain company components from Washington.