After Google exited China seven years ago, it might finally have a way back in.
A senior Chinese lawmaker has revealed that Google Scholar Google’s search engine for academic literature is on a priority list to be allowed back over the Great Firewall.
Google and all its services like Gmail and Google Maps are blocked in China, and users there need to use a VPN if they want to access Google services.
The move will seek to enhance Chinese “academic progress,” the South China Morning Post quoted Liu Binjie as saying. Liu, a government party member and former head of China’s top censorship body, said China’s academics will likely be the first to access Google Scholar.
“China’s focus [is on] academic exchange as well as science and culture, instead of news, information or politics,” Liu said.
The country has been seeking to boost its universities’ global rankings to promote its international competitiveness, according to the South China Morning Post.
Other Google services may get unblocked too.
Liu also added that other Google services “are under negotiation” for getting unblocked too.
A month ago, the Google Play Android app store was rumoured to be getting into China via a joint venture with Netease, China’s second-largest games firm.
Talks for Google’s return have been ongoing since 2014, four years since the American firm left China, after it detected a series of cyberattacks on other U.S. companies, which it claimed were sponsored by the Chinese government.
Its refusal to abide by the government’s censorship rules also resulted in its moving its operations out of the mainland to Hong Kong.
Mashable has reached out to Google for more.