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Chinese official: Google's move will not affect investment

By Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Google says censorship and cyber attacks are forcing it to move most of its search functions from China to Hong Kong.
Google says censorship and cyber attacks are forcing it to move most of its search functions from China to Hong Kong.
  • China commerce official: Country attractive place to invest
  • Zhong Shan made comments amid Google plans to move search functions
  • Zhong: Google is "exceptional" case; won't affect China's opening up
  • Google says making move due to censorship, cyber attacks

Washington (CNN) -- A Chinese official has said Google's plan to move most of its search functions from the mainland to Hong Kong will not undermine the nation's investment.

China remains a "most attractive place for investment," Vice Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said at the Chinese embassy in Washington.

Google is "an exceptional case" that will not harm China's process of opening up to the outside world, Zhong told reporters after a meeting at the U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday.

"We are not saying we are perfect in opening up," he said. "We are trying to improve the process of opening up through trial and error."

Internet giant Google has announced that it is moving most of its search functions in China from the mainland to Hong Kong in the face of government censorship and a series of cyber attacks.

Video: Doing business in China
Video: Google shutting China search engine
  • Google Inc.
  • China
  • Internet
  • China Unicom Ltd.

More than 50,000 American businesses operate in China, and most were doing well, Zhong said.

Sales for General Motors grew 67 percent last year, he said.

Asked whether China will revalue its currency, the yuan, Zhong said it was "not the main factor behind the trade imbalance with the United States."

China, he said, was running a deficit in terms of services with the United States, even if it was running a surplus in goods. The United States, he said, was running a surplus in agricultural trade with China.

It was wrong for the United States to conclude that China was manipulating its currency "by the mere fact that it is running a trade surplus," the vice minister said.

Zhong reiterated Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's stance that Beijing will not yield to external pressure to revalue its currency. He said it was unacceptable for the U.S. to pressure China to revalue its currency.

"If the U.S. rationale is correct, we could say the U.S. dollar is undervalued and we could ask for appreciation of the U.S. dollar and then impose punitive tariffs," Zhong said. "But I don't think the U.S. would accept that."

The basic stability of the yuan was beneficial to the United States and the world, Zhong said, adding that he hoped for a stable U.S. dollar.

"We can imagine that a big dip in the U.S. dollar would be a huge disaster for the world economy just on its way to recovery" from economic crisis, he said.