U.S. internet giant Google Inc. might close its operations in China next month after a row over a hacking attack that apparently originated in China, a state media report said on Friday.
The Shanghai-based China Business News quoted an executive with an unidentified advertising agency linked to Google as saying the US firm had decided to “pull out” of China from April 10.
The newspaper also quoted an unnamed China-based Google employee as saying the company might announce its decision on Monday.
The report did not say if any withdrawal would involve only the closure of Google’s main Chinese website or include the ending of other operations in China.
Last week, the Chinese government warned Google that it would have to “bear the consequence” if it went ahead with a threat to stop censoring search results in China, which has strict government controls on the internet.
It was not clear if the two sides had held talks since Google announced plans in January to review its operations in China.
The Wall Street Journal quoted Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt as saying last week that the company was in “active negotiations” with the Chinese government, but Chinese officials declined to confirm that any talks had taken place.
Google’s Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, announced in January that the company planned to stop self-censoring its Chinese search engine even if that meant abandoning China’s market.