Google is expected to announce on Monday that it will withdraw from China on April 10, according to a report in a Beijing-based newspaper that cited an unidentified sales associate who works with the company.

“I have received information saying that Google will leave China on April 10, but this information has not at present been confirmed by Google,” the China Business News quoted the agent as saying. The report also said Google would reveal its plans for its China-based staff that day.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google, which has a significant share of the search market in China, announced in January that it no longer intended to censor search results in that country and would consider leaving entirely. Google has identified China as the source of attacks on prominent U.S. Web properties and e-mail accounts belonging to human rights activists, though it has not revealed the specific people behind them. For its part, the Chinese government has denied any involvement.

After months of negotiations over whether it can run with or without restrictions, it seemed that Google was getting ready to make a decision in the near-term future. However, according to a Financial Times report last week, Google is now 99.9 percent” certain that it will shut down

The Chinese government has reportedly warned Google business partners to prepare for the day when they can’t use Google services such as a search bar on their Web sites. Earlier this week, Google confirmed that it had received a letter purportedly signed by 27 advertising partners in China that complained of a lack of communication on the part of Google and demanded to know how they would be compensated if the company withdrew from China.

Source: CNET