Google, the world's largest search engine, is welcome to expand its market share in China, the country's Minister of Industry and Information Technology said on Friday.

The chief executive of Google, Eric Schmidt, had said this week he hopes to announce soon a result to its talks with Chinese authorities on offering an uncensored search engine in China.

Ministry officials have wavered between confirming and denying that talks are happening at all.

Minister Li Yizhong said it is up to Google whether to stay in China's market or not.

(Reporting by Lucy Hornby and Aileen Wang; editing by Ken Wills)