Anonymous search engine DuckDuckGo has been blocked in China, according to reports.
Discovered by Tech in Asia, the blockage was confirmed by DuckDuckGo's founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg over the weekend.
Tech in Asia then used GreatFire.org, the index of blocked sites, to discover that the search engine has in fact been blocked since September 4th. When asked why the blockage had occurred, Weinberg said he has "no idea".
DuckDuckGo joins search giant Google on the blocked list in mainland China, whereas Bing and Yahoo are still accessible. Tech in Asia suggested two reasons for the blockage; firstly that Bing and Yahoo still have servers based in China, unlike DuckDuckGo and Google (which has used servers in Hong Kong since 2010). Secondly, Bing and Yahoo have agreed to censor their search results in accordance with China's media laws.
The rise of DuckDuckGo
DuckDuckGo was founded in 2008 but saw a huge rise in popularity in the wake of the PRISM scandal in June 2013, as users were attracted to its policy of refusing to collect or share personal information or search terms. Its growth looked set to continue in 2014, as Apple announced it was adding DuckDuckGo as a search engine option in Safari for Mac OS Yosemite and iOS 8, which launched this month.
In September 2014 DuckDuckGo is handling over 5 million searches per day from across the world. According to data from StatCounter Global Stats, it is the world's 18th most popular search engine, handling 0.04 per cent of queries in August 2014. StatCounter also reveals that the search market in China is dominated by Baidu (64.42 per cent), Qihoo 360 (17.49 per cent) and Soguo Search (10.54 per cent), with DuckDuckGo in 10th place at 0.05 per cent.