Microsoft's Bing, the last foreign search engine in China, was blocked yesterday amid a growing trade dispute between Beijing and Washington. The search engine is no longer available when users residing in mainland China are visiting cn.bing.com. "One of the sources explained that China Unicom, one of China's major state-owned telecoms companies, had confirmed the government had ordered a block on Bing", said the report. "China's Internet regulator has yet to comment on the issue". Just a few months ago, it blocked gaming video streaming service Twitch, speculatively because some users in China abused streamers from other countries.
A permanent block on Bing would leave Chinese internet users to rely exclusively on Baidu, the largest search engine within the country.
"We can confirm that Bing was inaccessible in China, but service is now restored", Microsoft said it a statement.
Make sure you take a look at our opinion on the best web browser to be using.
Because of Google's nonattendance, state-controlled Baidu has emerged as the nation's leading search provider, controlling more than 70 percent of the market.
Yahoo search was blocked in China a year ago.
The internet outage raised fears among social media users that Bing was the latest foreign website to be blocked by censors. For example, the search engine filtered out both English and Chinese language search results of politically-sensitive terms such as "Dalai Lama" and "Tiananmen", according to China-based freedom of speech advocacy blog GreatFire.org.
The Chinese government's extreme online censorship and extensive monitoring activities have come to be derisively known as "The Great Firewall".
Microsoft President Brad Smith on the opportunities for the company in China and the impact of U.S.
Google's search platform has been blocked in China since 2010.
Foreign companies operating in China have to go through stringent government checks before they can run their services in the country.
China this week appeared to block Bing search, according to The New York Times.