Google pulls plug on Translate app for China in ongoing retreat


By Lisa Du

The service’s web page in China now shows a photo of a generic search bar that redirects to Google’s Hong Kong translation site, which isn’t accessible from the mainland. — AFP

Google shut down its Translate app for China, ending one of the few remaining services the US giant still operates in the world’s biggest Internet arena.

The service’s web page in China now shows a photo of a generic search bar that redirects to Google’s Hong Kong translation site, which isn’t accessible from the mainland.

“We have discontinued Google Translate in mainland China due to low usage,” a company representative said in a statement.

Alphabet Inc’s Google, which pulled its search engine from mainland China in 2010 because of the government’s censorship of Internet content, has explored ways to retain a foothold in the market. It made its translation service available to users in the country in 2017 via a dedicated website and smartphone app.

Google had also considered a separate, prototype search service for the Chinese market, but said later that project was terminated.

The translation service’s discontinuation comes as US-China tensions have ratcheted up and both countries move to protect sensitive technologies and intellectual property. It comes at a sensitive time, with a key Party Congress set to start this month. – Bloomberg

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