Google, the world’s biggest search engine, is welcome to return to China as long as it complies with the nation’s laws and right to control the Internet within its borders, the People’s Daily said.
The opinion piece in the Chinese state-run newspaper said that the Alphabet Inc unit’s 2010 withdrawal from China, when it complained about hacking and censorship, was a mistake that caused it to miss out on opportunities.
It also made Google a politicized brand, a “tragedy” for the company, the newspaper said.
However, the column was later removed from both the People’s Daily Web site, as well as its Facebook and Twitter feeds, without explanation.
Google is looking at ways to re-enter China, home to the biggest pool of Internet users, through a search app that complies with Chinese censorship, as well as partnerships with local companies, people familiar with the matter have said.
After withdrawing, most of its services were blocked in the country.
News of a potential return have been met with resistance from employees and criticism from human rights advocates and lawmakers.
The newspaper’s commentary reflects China’s long-held line that all foreign companies wishing to offer services in the country must abide by local standards.
Chinese tech giants are constantly censored, with posts deemed harmful to social order quickly erased from public view. These have run the gamut from news of protests to the cartoon character Winnie the Pooh after it was compared to Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
Facebook and Twitter remain blocked as well.
Separately, the next version of Google’s Android system is to be called Pie and would use artificial intelligence to adapt to how the device is used.
For example, Android would set screen brightness by studying a user’s manual adjustments, rather than automatically switching to a certain level based on ambient light.
Pie is to be initially available on Google’s Pixel smartphones.
Additional reporting by AP
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