Company officials made the announcement Tuesday after the search giant had uncovered a massive cyber attack on its computers that originated there.
Google said that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human-rights activists, but the attack also targeted more than 30 large companies in the media, chemical, techonology and finance industries.
In a blog posting, David Drummond, Google’s corporate development and chief legal officer, said the search giant will ask Chinese authorities whether it could operate an uncensored search engine in that country.
“These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered — combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web — have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China,” Drummond wrote.
“We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China,” he said.