Part of the Chinese flag flies near the Google China logo outside company headquarters in Beijing.
Part of the Chinese flag flies near the Google China logo outside company headquarters in Beijing. - 
Listen To The Story


Bob Moon: The epic confrontation between search titan Google and China has taken a new turn this morning. Google reports today some of its mobile Internet search tools in China are being partially blocked. The Internet giant pulled its search engine servers from mainland China, but Google's mobile business remains. Is the Chinese government retaliating? From Shanghai, Marketplace's Scott Tong reports.

Scott Tong: Google says its mobile services are partially blocked in China. But it's a bit of a mystery what that means. In our office, we can access Google Maps and Gmail via handheld.

IT consultant Mark Natkin at Marbridge Consulting in Beijing can't nail it down either. But he notes that Google is losing mobile partners in China, which could explain any user problems. Natkin says the ex-partners know that Google now has a reputation.

Mark Natkin: Most companies may not receive any sort of instruction, in fact they're likely not to receive any instruction from Chinese authorities, understand that the climate has changed. And it would behoove them not to be cooperating with Google, if Google is doing something that's creating displeasure with Chinese authorities.

I.e. Google's beef could be with the government, or just a chilly business climate. In the last week, Google's been abandoned by a top Chinese Web site and the country's number two mobile carrier. As for the top carrier, an executive says it has a relationship with Google, but it's not exclusive.

In Shanghai, I'm Scott Tong for Marketplace.

Follow Scott Tong at @tongscott