December 9, 2023

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Alphabet’s Google on Monday said it would shut down Google Translate service in mainland China, citing low usage.

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The move marks the end of one of its last remaining products in the world’s second largest economy.

The mainland China website dedicated to Google Translate now redirects users to the Hong Kong version of the service. However, it is not available from mainland China.

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“We are discontinuing Google Translate in mainland China due to low usage,” Google said in a statement.

Google has had a bad relationship with the Chinese market. The US technology giant pulled its search engine from China in 2010 due to strict government censorship online. Its other services – such as Google Maps and Gmail – are also effectively blocked by the Chinese government.

As a result, local competitors such as search engine Baidu and social media and gaming giant Tencent have dominated the Chinese Internet landscape in areas ranging from search to translation.

Google has a very limited presence in China these days. Some of its hardware, including the smartphone, is made in China. but new York Times Last month it was reported that Google has shifted some production of its Pixel smartphones to Vietnam.

The company is trying to get Chinese developers to make apps for its Android operating system globally, which will then be available through the Google Play Store, even if it is blocked in China.

In 2018, Google was exploring re-entering China with its search engine, but eventually scrapped that project after protests from employees and politicians.

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American businessmen are stuck amid the ongoing tension in the technology sector between the US and China. Washington is concerned about China’s potential access to sensitive technologies in areas such as artificial intelligence and semiconductors.

In August, US chipmaker Nvidia revealed that Washington would limit sales of the company’s specific components to China.