Microsoft’s Bing search engine inaccessible in China

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January 24, 2019 3:31 am Published by
A Microsoft display at a technology show in ChinaImage copyright Getty Images

US tech giant Microsoft has confirmed that its search engine Bing is currently inaccessible in China.

Social media users have expressed concern that the search engine might be the latest foreign website to be blocked by censors.

Chinese authorities operate a firewall that blocks many US tech platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.

Microsoft hasn’t said if the outage may be due to censorship, or is merely a technical problem.

“We’ve confirmed that Bing is currently inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps,” Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement.

A BBC correspondent in China attempted to visit the site, and was able to access it through a Chinese internet provider on a desktop, but not on a smartphone.

Many US tech companies are keen to tap into the Chinese market, but have a difficult relationship with the authorities in Beijing.

Bing’s rival Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010, after rows with the authorities over censorship and hacking.

Google has said that it has no immediate plans to re-launch a search engine in China, but has admitted it has looked closely at the idea.

Although Twitter is blocked, it maintains a Greater China office because Chinese customers can use the platform to advertise abroad.

Facebook attempted to set up an office in China last year, but appears to have been blocked.

Microsoft has maintained an office in Beijing since 1992. It has continued to operate Bing and its communication service Skype in China.

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