The first indication that internet giant Google is serious about its threat of exiting China came today when it said that it is delaying the launch of two mobile phones made specially for the Chinese market.
Google had scheduled to unveil two handsets tomorrow incorporating its email and web services, which had been developed in partnership with Samsung and Motorola in a deal with Chinese mobile carrier China Unicom.
Although, the Mountain View, California-based Google has not revealed how long it will delay the launch, analyst feel that the company will find it difficult to conduct new business in China in view of the uncertainty of the outcome of the ongoing investigations into the highly sophisticated and targeted hacking of email accounts of dissidents by China on its Chinese website last week. (See: Google threatens to exit China after cyber attacks)
The two handsets made for the Chinese market run on Google's Android operating system featuring Google applications like mobile search and Google maps, whose very future in China is now in doubt.
The Chinese magazine Caijing said in a report today that China Unicom had put up an internal notice saying that Google had withdrawn the authorisation to run content on its applications and had simultaneously asked Motorola and Samsung to remove all Google-related applications from the two handsets.
Caijing also said that Google had asked the two mobile handset manufacturers not to carry the Google logo, English words "Google phone" or the Chinese words "Google experience handset" as well as delete all pre-installed Google applications in the two related handsets.