Microsoft’s Bing search engine has been blocked in China, the company said on Wednesday, making it the latest foreign technology service to be shut down behind the country’s Great Firewall.
“We’ve confirmed that Bing is currently inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps,” the company said in a statement.
The Financial Times, citing a source, reported on Wednesday that China Unicom , a major state-owned telecommunication company, had confirmed the government order to block the search engine.
However, Bloomberg reports that Microsoft’s search engine was blocked in China due to an accidental technical error rather than an attempt at censorship.
Bing was the only major foreign search engine accessible from within China’s so-called Great Firewall. A move to block Bing would be surprising because Microsoft has sought to build a local operation on Beijing’s terms. Microsoft censored search results on sensitive topics, in accordance with government policy.
Alphabet’s Google search platform has been blocked in China since 2010. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in December it has “no plans” to relaunch a search engine in China though it is continuing to study the idea amid increased scrutiny of big tech firms.