UPDATE (January 24, 2019 at 11.05pm CST): Bing is back online in the Chinese mainland as of 10.30pm CST. Click here to read more.
Microsoft-operated search engine Bing is no longer accessible from the Chinese mainland. It is not immediately clear how long the site has been down, but we can personally attest it has been inaccessible since yesterday evening.
According to a heavily cited article from the Financial Times, Bing is the latest victim of China’s ‘Great Firewall.’ Back in September of last year, the search function of popular platform Yahoo became inaccessible in China, leaving Bing as the only remaining well-known search engine. Aol.com’s search function, which is powered by Bing, is also down. (You might find it useful to know that Yandex.com, a search engine from Russia, is not blocked in China. And, while not great, it’s definitely a step up from Baidu. Other search engines like Ask.com and Duckduckgo.com are also blocked).
Bye-bye Bing, we hardly knew thee... Screengrab via Google Chrome
Strangely, a quick search on vpnmentor.com – a platform that tracks websites blocked by The Great Firewall – indicates that Bing.com is not blocked in China. Based on reports from people in major Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, this is not accurate and the site is most definitely unavailable.
Screengrab via vpnmentor.com
Bing joins a long list of popular websites that are inaccessible from the PRC, most notable among them: Google and Facebook.
Search giant Google has had something of an on-again, off-again relationship with the Chinese mainland since 2002, and has been completely blocked since at least 2014. Google’s Middle Kingdom demise had positioned Yahoo – and later Bing – as the main foreign search engine available to people in China.
Over the past few years, a number of other popular websites and apps have also fallen victim to the Great Firewall, including both Pinterest and Whatsapp in 2017, and Instagram a few years prior to that.
Chinese netizens do not seem thrilled with the demise of Bing, with many taking to Weibo to voice their disappointment. “I thought my Internet was just having issues, so I restarted the Wi-Fi several times. It turns out Bing is blocked? What the f*ck,” wrote one user. Another pondered about the lack of competition, writing “For such a big market how can there be no competition?”
“Right now the market really needs a passable search engine. Who is willing to undertake this great task?” wrote Weibo user @乐天知命刘阿斗.
Bye-bye Bing, it was good while it lasted. And hello, Yandex.com, we’ll be seeing much more of you!
Additional reporting from Ryan Gandolfo
UPDATED (January 24, 2019 at 1.35pm CST): This article has been updated to clarify that Aol.com’s search function not longer works in China.