China's tough stance on tech companies is well-known. Numerous services and devices are blocked in the country, mostly because the Chinese government wants more control and access than companies are willing to provide. Microsoft Bing appears to be the latest victim of China's block and don't tell methods.
While Google Search has been absent from China for some time, Bing has been available. Microsoft has largely been adept at working with Chinese authorities to ensure its services are available to the country's 1.3 billion people.
Last night, Microsoft confirmed Bing has been blocked following users in China were unable to access the search. “We've confirmed that Bing is currently inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps,” a company spokesperson told TNW in an email statement.
As usual, China has kept quiet on why it has blocked Microsoft Bing. This is a normal tactic from the country, which typically leaves company's in the dark when decisions are made. In fact, Chinese authorities have not even confirmed they have blocked Bing.
Speaking to the Financial Times, a source claimed major telecom company China Unicom received a government order to shut down Microsoft Bing.
It is not a surprise to see a foreign tech service banned in China, but Bing getting blocked raises eyebrows. As mentioned, Microsoft has often worked well within Chinese regulations. Indeed, Bing has followed what the country demands from search engines.
Bing in China
Luckily for Microsoft, Bing's situation in China mirrors closely its global spread. The search engine is hardly a big player in China according to StatCounter, with just 2 percent of the market. However, China represents a massive market for any company and that 2 percent is likely to be millions of users.
It is also worth noting that this block was perhaps inevitable considering Microsoft Bing was the only foreign search engine available in China. It seems authorities in the country have decided to keep internet search entirely in-house.