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Google pulls translation app from mainland China

Users trying to access the website for Google Translate in China are redirected to the Hong Kong version of the service, which is blocked on the mainland. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/14d05621b1abe1fc15131a54ccbc67a8/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Users trying to access the website for Google Translate in China are redirected to the Hong Kong version of the service, which is blocked on the mainland. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Google has axed its Translate app in mainland China, abandoning one of its last footholds there.

The tech giant cited "low usage," in a statement on the move.

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Users trying to access the website for Google Translate in China are redirected to the Hong Kong version of the service, which is blocked on the mainland. Hong Kong has a special status within the Chinese system and is not subject to the level of censorship that is seen in the rest of the country.

Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company, pulled its search engine from mainland China in 2010 due to concerns about censorship. Alphabet explored the idea of creating a China-specific search engine in 2018 but decided against it after facing political pressure.

American tech companies are walking a tightrope when engaging the Chinese market as the U.S. government moves to restrict the sales of certain components, including high-end chips and Graphics Processing Units, to China. The U.S. government has also moved to restrict the export of high-tech software and hardware to the Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

Though Google's search engine and Translate app are no longer available, the company still produces smartphones on mainland China. The New York Times reported that at least some of the manufacturing for Google's Pixel smartphone has been relocated to Vietnam.

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