Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt said Thursday that the search giant expects its Chinese Internet license will be renewed despite government statements that the company's attempts to avoid Chinese censorship are "unacceptable."
"We now expect a renewal," Schmidt told reporters at investment bank Allen & Co.'s Sun Valley, Idaho media retreat.
Schmidt's statement comes as the Chinese government shows no sign of approving Google's solution: a landing page directing users to a more open Hong Kong-based site. Instead of automatically directing users to that site, Google has created a landing page at Google.cn, which when clicked sends the user to the Honk Kong search engine.
Schmidt acknowledged that China could pull the plug at any time. "They have the absolute ability to stop our operations if they should choose to," Schmidt said, according to the Associated Press.
The Chinese government has acknowledged receipt of Google's renewal application. "Google's annual check-in is under way," Wang Lijian, a spokesman for China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said Wednesday
Google's Internet Content Provider (ICP) license, which allows it to operate an Internet business in the country, is valid until 2012, but the company must renew it annually.
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