Microsoft's Bing search engine appears to be the latest foreign website to be blocked in China follow complaints on social media that users were unable to access the site from the country.
The country's so called “Great Firewall” blocks many US-based tech platforms such as Facebook and Twitter but Microsoft's communication service Skype and Bing have continued to operate in China.
While the US software giant has confirmed that Bing is currently inaccessible in China, it has not yet determined if the outage was due to censorship or was caused by a technical glitch with a spokesperson for the company, saying:
“We've confirmed that Bing is currently inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps.”
Operating in China
Many US tech giants have set their sights on China as its large internet-savvy population could help boost their business but they have found it difficult to deal with the authorities in Beijing.
The government uses the Great Firewall as an internet censorship tool which is used to block foreign platforms and controversial content from reaching its populace. Authorities in China have also cracked down on VPNs which allow users to bypass its restrictions to see the web without filters.
Bing's biggest rival in the search engine market, Google was forced to shut down its own search engine in China back in 2010 after disagreements with China over censorship and hacking. The company was planning to launch a new search product for the Chinese market called Project Dragonfly but internal disagreements led to it being shelved.
As of now, Bing is inaccessible in China and we will likely hear more once Microsoft investigates the reason for the outage and finds out if the country has indeed blocked its search engine due to censorship.
Via The BBC (opens in new tab)
- We've also highlighted the best working VPNs for China in this roundup