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Google not on mapping list

07-01-2010 10:11 BJT

Firm also faces uncertainties in getting ICP license

BEIJING - Google Inc has not been included in the initial list of companies that the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM) plans to approve to provide online mapping services in the country.

Twenty-three domestic companies including Baidu, Alibaba and Sohu are among those expected to be granted a license to provide the services, the SBSM has said.

Google's failure to make the list may bring uncertainties for the US-based Internet search giant's Chinese operations, as its domestic website license expired on Wednesday, analysts said.

The search engine's joint venture on the Chinese mainland was "very late" in its application to renew its website license, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

But "relevant departments are dealing with the application and there will be a result soon", Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

Other foreign companies such as Microsoft and Nokia which reportedly applied for licenses were also not included in the latest list.

Companies that fail to get a license from the SBSM will also be unable to provide Internet mapping services via mobile phones in the country, according to SBSM.

That will impact Google's 2 million active mobile map users in China, said Guan Dai, an analyst from research firm In-Stat China.

An SBSM official on Wednesday refused to comment on why foreign firms have not been approved. The bureau plans to release an official announcement in several days, he told China Daily.

The bureau started posting the list on June 13 and said it plans to grant licenses to listed companies soon.

"Google will hardly be able to get a license (for mapping services). Nor does it have a good chance of getting its ICP (Internet Content Provider) license renewed," said Hu Yanping, head of the Data Center of China Internet, a domestic research firm.

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