A group of ad resellers for Google in China have asked the company to explain what will happen to them if Google shuts its China-based search engine, saying they have waited in "incomparable pain" since Google announced the possible move.
Google has received a letter from the resellers and is reviewing it, a Google spokeswoman said early Wednesday. The letter, which lists 27 resellers, says their business is falling and asks how they and their customers will be compensated if Google.cn is shut down, according to a copy posted online by China's state broadcaster.
The move comes amid growing signs that Google might close the search engine. It marks uncertainty among Chinese users and partners of Google about what that would mean.
"We understand that Google has its own values, but what we can't understand is why, up to today, Google has not had any communication or talks about future solutions with us at all," the letter said.
Breaking with regulations, Google said in January it planned to stop censoring results on its Chinese search engine, even if that meant being forced to exit China. Google.cn is currently still censoring pornographic and certain politically sensitive results, but the company has said it is in talks with China and expects something to happen "soon."
China requires Internet content providers to obtain licenses as part of its regulatory system. Those licenses "generally come up for renewal" this month, the Google spokeswoman said. That sets the stage for a possible expiration of the license issued to Google.cn if its holder does not renew it or if authorities block it. Operating the site without a valid license would violate regulations.
The letter from the ad resellers says the companies have waited anxiously and cannot do so anymore.
"Every day we are losing money," it said.