Late last month, China implemented new standards aimed at preventing “state secrets being disclosed and uncertified maps published online.” A major component to this push was a requirement that all online mapping efforts be housed in mainland China and we wondered at the time how this might affect companies like Google.
According to an article today in China Daily, 18 domestic firms have gotten the okay for providing maps of China to Chinese users, but the list of approved providers is not yet available.
While The Next Web reports that Google and Baidu are not among the approved companies, China has yet to release the list of companies selected from the pool of 30 applicants. According to an analyst quoted in the China Daily article, however, Google looks unlikely to be among them.
“Among all the foreign vendors, Google may have some trouble getting a license because currently all its servers that provide map services are outside China,” Ren Yanghui, an analyst of research firm Analysys International, told China Daily.
The regulations went into action this month and gives Chinese authorities the right to shut down mapping providers that fail to get a license by the end of the year.
Google told Reuters that it is looking into the new regulations and how it affects its efforts in the country.
“China recently implemented a wide-ranging set of rules relating to online mapping. We are examining the regulations to understand their impact on our maps products in China,” a Google spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
As Chad Catacchio from The Next Web pointed out, crowdsourced mapping solutions such as OpenStreetMap could face the biggest problems in being shut out of the Chinese market entirely. The new regulations could also have a major impact on location-based service applications, such as Gowalla, FourSquare and Yelp, which often use Google Maps as a backbone to their service.