The Google Translate service in mainland China will be discontinued, according to the American tech giant, who cited poor usage in the nation. One of its final products in the second-largest economy in the world will no longer be produced as a result of the change.
"We are discontinuing Google Translate in mainland China due to low usage," Google said.
Users are now redirected to the Hong Kong version of the service through Google Translate's dedicated page for mainland China. This, however, is inaccessible from mainland China without a virtual private network.
Google's relationship with the Chinese market has been complicated. The Chinese government's stringent web censorship prompted the American technology giant to withdraw its search engine from China in 2010. The Chinese government has also essentially restricted its other services, including Google Maps and Gmail.
Due to this, regional rivals like the search engine Baidu and the social media and gaming company Tencent have taken control of many aspects of the Chinese internet, including search and translation.
These days, Google's presence in China is incredibly limited. Smartphones and other hardware components are built in China. However, The New York Times revealed in their report from last month that Google has moved some of the manufacturing of its Pixel devices to Vietnam. Though the Google Play Store remains inaccessible in China, the corporation is also attempting to convince Chinese programmers to create apps for its Android operating system that would be made available globally.
Notably, China is accused of gathering an alarming amount of personal information from millions of residents with the goal of creating a system that would allow the government to determine a person's identity, aiding in the maintenance of authoritarian rule.
However, despite the fact that the Chinese government has never acknowledged its use of surveillance, information about the spy technologies in use there is now becoming public thanks to police research papers, presentations, and patents from surveillance contractors, as well as hundreds of documents related to public procurement.
The worst aspect of spying is that it is obviously illegal. People frequently have no idea they are being monitored. Chinese officials unlawfully invade the privacy of the general people.
The ongoing tensions between the United States and China in the technology sector have put American enterprises in the spotlight. Washington is nonetheless concerned about China's possible access to critical technologies in industries like semiconductors and artificial intelligence. American chipmaker Nvidia said in August that Washington will limit the company's ability to sell some components to China.