Not too long ago, Google threatened to shut down Google.cn and walk out of China. The threat was a response to a mid-December hack originating from China as well as an anti-censorship protest. On Friday, the Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Li Yizhong, told reporters in no uncertain terms, "If you don't respect Chinese laws, you are unfriendly and irresponsible, and the consequences will be on you."
Today, the Financial Times reports that the Google's decision to leave China is all but made. Citing a source familiar with the situation. FT reports that censorship talks with the Chinese government have reached an apparent impasse. The source went on to say that while a decision could be made very soon, the company is likely to take some time to follow through with the plan as it seeks an orderly closure and takes steps to protect local employees from retaliation by the authorities.
However, Google may not leave China altogether. Though the company could be closing Google.cn, the search giant is looking at other solutions to the problem so it can maintain a presence in the country. Among these is the possibility of handing over a majority stake or even the entire business to a local player.
Read the full story on Financial Times.