Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine Back Online in China

Microsoft's Bing is blocked in China as tensions between Beijing and Washington escalate

Microsoft's Bing is blocked in China as tensions between Beijing and Washington escalate

Microsoft's Bing search engine can be accessed by internet users in China again after it was blocked for two days behind the country's so-called Great Firewall. As indicated by sources speaking anonymously with the FT, the state-owned telecom China Unicom has confirmed the order came from the government.

Bing is one of the few Western search engines available behind the Great Firewall, thanks to an agreement to host its servers in China, and therefore be subject to the government's censorship policies which are created to keep dissent to a minimum. According to a report in Financial Times, mainland Chinese users wrote on social media that attempts to access Bing's China site, cn.bing.com, failed.

The wording of the U.S. company's statement "means Microsoft received no government order, but clearly China has the power to block a URL and that may be what happened", said independent United States tech analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group.

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"We can confirm that Bing was inaccessible in China, but service is now restored".

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

Users in China began noticing Bing was no longer accessible on Wednesday, which prompted Microsoft to investigate.

Google has said that it has no immediate plans to re-launch a search engine in China, but has admitted it has looked closely at the idea. Microsoft censored search results on sensitive topics, in accordance with government policy.

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The company declined to provide details about the cause of the disruption and return of the search engine.

Beijing is intensifying its campaign to scrub the domestic internet, which it perceives as a growing threat to social stability as the online ecosystem booms. A market leader with a share of 70% remains local service Baidu.

Chinese businesses are projected to spend US$256.61 billion on tech this year and another US$272.84 billion in 2020, focusing their investments on transforming operations and improving efficiencies as they brace themselves for an uncertain geopolitical climate, says Forrester.

Google's search platform has been blocked in China since 2010.

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Microsoft has maintained an office in Beijing since 1992.

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