Google Now Shuts Down Translate App In China As It Looks Past The Country

Zinger Key Points
  • The app has been reportedly inaccessible to mainland Chinese users since Saturday.
  • It was in 2017 that the company made its translation service available to users in China via a dedicated website.
  • The translation service’s discontinuation comes at a time when US-China tensions have surged.
Google Now Shuts Down Translate App In China As It Looks Past The Country

Alphabet Inc’s GOOGL GOOG Google has reportedly shut down its Translate app for China, winding up one of the few remaining services it operates in the Asian country.

What Happened: The app has been inaccessible to mainland Chinese users since Saturday, according to a report by the South China Morning Post. The service’s web page in China currently shows a photo of a generic search bar that redirects to Google’s Hong Kong translation site. 

The built-in translation function on Google’s Chrome browser has also become unavailable in the country, the report said, citing various user posts on Chinese social media.

“We have discontinued Google Translate in mainland China due to low usage,” a company representative told Benzinga in an emailed statement.

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Moving Away: Google pulled its search engine from mainland China in 2010 due to the government’s censorship of internet content.

“These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered — combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web — have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China,” Google had said in its 2010 blog post.

However, Google did not completely withdraw its presence from China. It was in 2017 that the company made its translation service available to users in China via a dedicated website and smartphone app. In 2018, the tech giant invested $550 million in Chinese e-commerce company JD.com Inc JD.

Interestingly, the translation service’s discontinuation comes when U.S.-China tensions have surged over Taiwan and just ahead of the Communist Party's Congress meeting this month.

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