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 Google assessing China's new rule on web mapping

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Date posted: 26/06/2010

Google said Thursday it was assessing the impact of a new Chinese rule on web mapping services, which state media said could exclude foreign companies from providing such services in the country.

"China recently implemented a wide-ranging set of rules relating to online mapping," a Beijing-based spokeswoman for the US Internet giant told AFP.

"We are examining the regulations to understand their impact on our maps products in China."

Under the regulation introduced this month, all firms providing online map and location services in China are required to apply for approval from the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, the China Daily said.

Authorities will be allowed to shut down the service if providers do not get a licence by the end of this year, the report said.

Foreign firms wanting to provide mapping and surveying services in China are required to set up joint ventures or partnerships with local firms.

The government bureau has received applications from several foreign companies and is "still examining" them, the China Daily said.

Analysts said Google may have trouble obtaining a licence from the regulator because all its mapping servers were based outside China.

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