Google has announced that it will move its Chinese language search operations to Hong Kong.
The company said that all Chinese-simplified language searches will be rerouted from Google.cn to Google.com.hk, and warned that the increased traffic may temporarily slow down the Hong Kong servers.
The transition follows months of failed negotiations between Google and the Chinese government over the issue of censorship.
David Drummond, senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer at Google, cited censorship as the main issue between the two parties in announcing the move on the company's official blog.
"We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement," he wrote.
"We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from Google.com.hk is a sensible solution to the challenges we've faced. It's entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China."
The debate over censorship came to a head earlier this year when Google revealed that its servers had been attacked by individuals believed to be working with China's government. The company said that authorities had been breaking into the Gmail accounts of human rights activists.
Chinese state media services, meanwhile, have accused Google of attempting to subvert Chinese culture and unfairly singling out China's government.
The reports also claim that Google will completely shut down its operations in China by 10 April. The company did not specifically address the media claims, but did note that the decision to move its Chinese language sites to Hong Kong was made entirely by US executives, and that employees in China were in no way responsible.
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