Microsoft Corp’s Bing search engine has been blocked in China following a government order, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
China Unicom, one of China’s major state-owned telecommunication companies, confirmed the government had ordered a block on Bing, the FT said citing a source.
On Wednesday, Chinese users took to social media to write that their attempts to access Bing’s China website, cn.bing.com, were failing, the report said.
The FT reported that Microsoft said it was investigating the issue. Microsoft could not immediately be reached by Reuters for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.
Google’s main search platform has also been blocked in China since 2010, but it has been attempting to make new inroads into China.
Control of the internet has tightened under President Xi Jinping, an effort that has accelerated since 2016, as the ruling Communist Party seeks to crack down on dissent in the social media landscape.
Cyber watchdog Cyberspace Administration of China had said on Wednesday that it had deleted more than 7 million pieces of online information and 9,382 mobile apps.
It criticized tech company Tencent’s news app for spreading “vulgar information.”In November 2017, Skype, Microsoft’s internet phone call and messaging service, was pulled from Apple and Android app stores in China.