On February 3, China's State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM) advised China Unicom’s parent company China United Network Communications Group and Lookoo Network Technology, both of which continue to offer internet mapping services without a license, to submit their application for license by February 29, or face the risk of legal action by SBSM.
We first talked about the Chinese government’s mandatory mapping licences back in 2010. China Unicom is a state-owned telecommunications operator, so it seems that even state-owned companies aren’t excluded from the requirements.
According to a previously issued notice from SBSM, starting from February 1, companies failing to apply for internet map service licenses will be prohibited from continuing operations. The SBSM is in charge of issuing such licenses, and plans to expose those companies without licenses, and set deadlines for them to shut down.
The two companies stated they would submit their license applications within the timeframe set by the SBSM.
From April to June of last year, 65 sites continued to operate without having applied to the SBSM for an internet mapping license. At the end of 2011, of the 65 sites exposed, 13 had already been issued a license; 8 had partnered with other license-holding companies; and 37 had shut down their websites or had temporarily halted service. The remaining 7 company's websites are still running, with their applications in process.
As of January 31, 2012, a total of 151 companies had obtained Class-A internet mapping service licenses, and 128 companies had obtained Class-B licenses.