Google chief executive Sundar Pichai has told a US congressional panel that the company currently has “no plans” to launch a search engine in China but did not rule out a future launch.
Mr Pichai, who testified before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, had told US lawmakers in a letter in August that providing such a search engine would give “broad benefits” to China but that it was unclear whether Google could launch the service there. He told the committee he would be “fully transparent” with policymakers if the company brings search products to China.
“Right now, there are no plans to launch search in China,” Mr Pichai testified.
“Getting access to information is an important human right, so we always are compelled across the world to try hard to provide that information.”
Lawmakers and hundreds of Google employees have raised concerns that Google would comply with China’s internet censorship and surveillance policies if it re-enters the Chinese search engine market.
Google’s main search platform has been blocked in China since 2010, but it has been attempting to make new inroads into the world’s largest smartphone market.
A Chinese government official said, last month, that it was unlikely Google would get clearance to launch a search service in 2019.
Mr Pichai did not say what steps Google would take to comply with Chinese laws if it re-enters the market.