Google yet to apply for online maps in China

Beijing : Internet giant Google has not applied to Chinese authorities to provide online map and location services, an official said.

Song Chaozhi, deputy director general of the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM), said about 80 firms had submitted their applications since the introduction of a new regulation in May that requires companies providing online maps in China to apply for approval.

“Although Google has made some initial contact with us, it has not officially submitted an application,” Song was quoted as saying by the China Daily Thursday.

Finnish cell phone maker Nokia was the only foreign firm to have applied, he said.

Online mapping licenses have been granted to 31 firms – including Nokia, Baidu, Alibaba, Sohu, Sina and Tencent.

Song said online map service providers were required to keep servers that stored map data inside the country.

Meanwhile, sources said Google would send a senior executive soon to China to discuss about the license issue.

However, Marsha Wang, spokesperson for Google China, refused to comment on whether Google had submitted an application or it will send an executive to China.

A SBSM official said if Google China fails to get the online map license, it will affect millions of smaller Chinese websites which are using Google China’s maps.

“That will further decrease Google’s search market share in China,” the official said.

Google’s market share in China dropped to 24.2 percent in the second quarter of this year, from 35.6 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, figures by research firm Analysys International said.

The market share of its competitor Baidu Inc. surged from 58.4 percent to 70 percent during the same period.

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