Microsoft's Bing search engine is, at the time of writing, not working in China, several reports have confirmed. The news should perhaps come as little surprise — it was only a matter of time before the Chinese government also banned Microsoft's service after having banned most, if not all, of Google's products there.
Bing is now the latest American service to be banned in the country, according to a report by the Financial Times.
Bing Banned In China
Internet users in mainland China reported that the Chinese Bing website was no longer accessible from within the country. However, at the time of writing, the website remains available to people outside China.
According to sources who spoke anonymously with Financial Times, the state-owned telecom China Unicom has confirmed the order came from the government. It's not yet clear what triggered the ban.
Again, this isn't uncommon in China. Major services including Facebook, Instagram, and a host of other services based in the United States have all been banned in the country. Just last September, major video game livestreaming service Twitch was also banned.
However, a search engine being banned is notable for a couple of reasons. For starters, Bing was one of very few American services to remain functional in the country, its existence likely because of Microsoft's consistent compliance with China's highly strict and heavily imposed internet policies.
Now, it's clear Microsoft acting in good faith just isn't enough for the Chinese government anymore.
With Google and Bing absent in the country, Baidu remains China's leading search engine provider, eating up over 70 percent of the entire market. Bing, by contrast, only has 2 percent of the market, and soon possibly none at all.
Google Still Has Hope
Google seems not to have given up on penetrating the Chinese market, however. Just last year it became the center of controversy when it was alleged that the company was planning to roll out a censored variant of Google Search in the country, much to the dismay and furor over many employees of proponents of free speech. Google had pulled out in 2010 in protest of the government's policies on free speech and access to information.
It's not clear how this project, apparently codenamed "Dragonfly," is coming along at the moment, but in Congress last month, CEO Sundar Pichai said its plans for the country are in the exploratory stages.