Google Translate, one of the few remaining consumer services that the US tech giant made available in mainland China, is no longer available in the country, marking the company’s latest withdrawal from the world’s largest internet market.
The app has been unavailable to mainland Chinese users since Saturday. They are redirected to a common search bar, asking users to bookmark the service’s Hong Kong webpage, which is also inaccessible on the mainland.
According to various user posts on Chinese social media, the built-in translate function on Google’s Chrome browser has also become unavailable in the country.
The move to shut down Google Translate in China was first reported by TechCrunch. Google told the US online news site that there was a pullback to the app “due to low usage” on the mainland.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
Similar Web Data On Translation Apps
While many Chinese technology companies offer a variety of translation services, the Google Translate app has a large user base in the country. In August, the Chinese Google Translate website recorded 53.5 million visits from desktop and mobile users combined, according to data from web analytics platform SimilarWeb.
The move to shut down Google Translate on the mainland reflects the US tech giant’s complicated history with the Chinese government.
Google announced its exit from the Chinese mainland in January 2010, citing targeted cyberattacks originating from the country and conflict with Beijing over tight controls of online speech. The Chinese government later blocked Google’s services on the mainland.
But in March 2017, Google Translate was reintroduced to the mainland without much fanfare after a seven-year absence. Google’s return to China was widely predicted last year.
This put an end to speculation, which was rife in August 2018, that Google planned to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, which focused on human rights, democracy, religion and other issues deemed sensitive by the Chinese government. Will blacklist the sites.