Most Western social media platforms are banned in the country of China, and now Google Translate is part of that list. Google Translate was one of the multi-billion dollar company’s last remaining services that was available to the country.
Now, the Google Translate app and website display a generic search bar and link redirecting its users to their page in Hong Kong, which is blocked on the mainland.
According to Chinese social media posts, citizens haven’t been able to access it since Saturday. The translation feature available in the Google Chrome browser no longer functions for China users, either.
Based on a statement made by Google, the service was discontinued in China because of “low usage.” Data pulled in August shows that Google Translate in China got around 53.5 million hits that month, however.
It’s no secret that Google, along with other tech companies, have a complicated relationship with China and its policies. In 2010, Google pulled its search engine from the Chinese market after it became unwilling to follow the country’s censorship rules and guidelines.
In 2020, China also opened an ant-trust investigation into Google, alleging it has leveraged the dominance of its Android mobile operating systems to stiffen competition. The case was proposed by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. The probe considered accusations that Google’s market position causes “extreme damage” to Chinese companies and that the loss of access to the licensed version of Android would lead to a decline in confidence and revenue.
The removal of Google Translate is said to be a result of the country trying to keep a tighter hold on its internet usage. The sudden suspension of the feature put some apps under stress, with users reporting frequent problems.
Several Western tech companies have shut down services in China over the past year, including the popular Amazon. Others have changed their offerings to comply with the internet regulations that China enforces.
Google does still maintain an office in China to support developers and help Chinese companies place Google ads, however.