BEIJING, Feb. 22 -- U.S. Internet giant Google rejected newspaper reports yesterday that its new China platform does not have the correct license.
The Beijing News reported yesterday that Google.cn, which was recently launched, "has not obtained the ICP (Internet content provider) license needed to operate Internet content services in China."
The Ministry of Information Industry, which regulates China's Internet, was "concerned" and investigating the problem, the paper said.
"Under China's policy framework for the Internet, Google.cn is clearly unlawful," said the China Business Times.
A Google spokeswoman said the newspaper reports were groundless. The company's licensing was "totally within the legal framework," she said.
Google used the ICP license of another, local company, Ganji.com, under a business partnership, a practice followed by many international Internet firms on the mainland, the spokeswoman said.
"It's not unusual for companies to do this," she said, noting that Google.cn notifies users of its license number at the bottom of its search screen.
"If we had anything to hide, we wouldn't have posted it."
Yahoo Inc. and eBay Inc. have similar license arrangements.
The spokeswoman said the Ministry of Information Industry had not contacted Google about any license problems.
A spokesman for the ministry was not available for comment. But another official in his office said he had neither seen the report nor heard of any problems with Google.cn's license.
The government blocks foreign investors from directly operating Internet services on the mainland.
Foreign investors have usually become minority shareholders in joint ventures with local Internet companies, or signed deals so the foreign investor receives payment for technical support to a Chinese client.
(Source: Shenzhen Daily/Agencies)