Page last updated at 11:47 GMT, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Google says China's web censorship is a 'trade issue'

Google's China headquarters in Beijing, China
Google currently has around a third of the Chinese search market

Google says state censorship in countries like China should be put on the United States' trade agenda.

Nicole Wong from Google told the Senate Judiciary Committee that web censorship could favour local companies.

The US is considering to raise China's censorship with the World Trade Organization, according to Bloomberg.

Google is reviewing its operations in China following hacking attacks that targeted the Google accounts of political activists.

At the start of this year Google said it was no longer willing to censor the Chinese language version of its search engine.

When Google launched in 2006, it agreed to censor some search results - such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Tibetan independence or religious group Falun Gong - as required by the Chinese government.

China has said it welcomes international internet companies, provided they "respect the Chinese public's interests, the nation's traditional culture and its laws and regulations".

Google currently holds about one-third of the Chinese search market, far behind Chinese rival Baidu, which has more than 60%.

China has more internet users - about 350 million - than any other country and last year had a lucrative search engine market worth an estimated $1bn (£614m).

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