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Google Pulls Plug on Translate App for China in Ongoing Retreat

(Bloomberg) -- Google shut down its Translate app for China, ending one of the few remaining services the US giant still operates in the world’s biggest internet arena.

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The service’s web page in China now shows a photo of a generic search bar that redirects to Google’s Hong Kong translation site, which isn’t accessible from the mainland. “We have discontinued Google Translate in mainland China due to low usage,” a company representative said in a statement.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which pulled its search engine from mainland China in 2010 because of the government’s censorship of internet content, has explored ways to retain a foothold in the market. It made its translation service available to users in the country in 2017 via a dedicated website and smartphone app. Google had also considered a separate, prototype search service for the Chinese market, but said later that project was terminated.

The translation service’s discontinuation comes as US-China tensions have ratcheted up and both countries move to protect sensitive technologies and intellectual property. It comes at a sensitive time, with a key Party Congress set to start this month.

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