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Google vs. China — Who's Got the Most To Lose?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the internet-pundits dept.

232

Barence writes "Google looks set to pull out of China, but who will suffer most? The search engine or China? At last week's South by Southwest conference, Kaiser Kuo, a former director of digital strategy for the Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency in China, gave an illuminating talk that examined the history of Google and other Western internet firms in China, their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and the likely outcomes of the current stalemate. Kuo explained that Google had earned the respect of the tech-savvy urban elite by protecting users, making censorship clear and by protecting its employees in China. That means Google is walking away from a 35% market share, which contains a far wealthier demographic than local provider Baidu. The Government, meanwhile, which has been very pro-competition, is about to hand a complete monopoly to Baidu, harm its international standing and the development of net technologies in the country. Is it a lose-lose situation?"

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232 comments

Microsoft wins (2, Interesting)

gksmith (1277536) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573488)

Google loses, China's reputation will recover after a blip, and Microsoft is waiting with Bing.

Re:Microsoft wins (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573606)

Recover? From what? This won't even register as a blip in the larger world.

Hold it just an elephantine minute here. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31573754)

You might presume to speak for overweight Americans (the larger world), but the world at large most assuredly has not appointed you its spokesperson.

Re:Hold it just an elephantine minute here. (0, Troll)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574094)

Nice! With that kind of reading comprehension I presume you are an ESL student?

Re:Microsoft wins (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574046)

Google loses, China's reputation will recover after a blip, and Microsoft is waiting with Bing.

You sorta misspelled "Baidu is waiting to hoover up the difference" up there :)

(there's also google.tw which seems to work just fine, provided that the users in question hook up with TOR and the like).

Re:Microsoft wins (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574138)

Most of the reports I've seen say that China is not a great profit booster if you're in the advertising business. Microsoft will put a lot of work into a substandard engine which will never be as useful as Baidu.

Google (3, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573504)

Google has the most to lose because they are a company and China is a country.

Google will make its profit, but not as much as if it would have if it stayed in China.
China will make itself whatever its government wants it to become where Google is around or not.

Re:Google (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573912)

China will make itself whatever its government wants it to become where Google is around or not.

Well yes and no. There is always a risk that by disconnecting from the tools and information made available by Google - which is after all a world-changing force in IT innovation - there will be a dampening effect on China's own IT landscape. It won't be anything huge, but it will be a small incremental disadvantage when compared to countries who's IT sectors are fully open to use whatever tools they want.

Google loses a couple tenths of a percent in global revenues. China loses a couple tenths of a percent in innovation.

Re:Google (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574018)

IIRC, Google isn't really raking in that much dough from China now.

The worst that can happen is that Google loses a few bucks (okay, relatively few) from Chinese-only advertisers, but they'll still get a goodly share of user hits out of China - they'll all just get there via TOR and/or other firewall-penetrating means.

Dunno what Bing and Yahoo stand to get out of the former Google-using crowd, since I suspect that Baidu will hoover that up pretty short order.

Anyone in China that still wants to use Google will likely find a way to do so anyway (by hitting google.tw or the like), and I'm fairly sure that the more savvy of the Chinese advertising biz is going to recognize and take advantage of that fact.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31574068)

China has the most to lose because they are a country and Google is a company.

Google will make its profit, with or without China.
China will make itself whatever the government wants it to become where Google is around or not.

There. That works too. The big difference? not really one. Unless you count my vote for Google doing the right thing and earning my business and lifetime respect.

Re:Google (5, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574110)

There's pretty clear evidence that "Western" companies that hang around China long term tend to develop local competition. It may be that for the next year or two Google will make less profit, but quite likely, after that they will make more profit since the Chinese competition will find it more difficult to steal knowledge from Google if they aren't present in the country.

P.S. your implicit assumption that countries are simply successful in everything they choose to do is just wrong.

Re:Google (2, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574340)

but not as much as if it would have if it stayed in China.

Is there any analysis to support that conclusion? I can't see much in Googles fundamental business that requires a physical corporate presence in China. Neither selling ads to Chinese producers nor displaying them to Chinese consumers really requires more than a network presence.

Combine that with the goodwill the company gains elsewhere by not kowtowing to an oppressive government, certainly a competitive advantage in a business segment where the customers perception of the safety of their personal data may carry some weight, and I'm not at all sure that it's a financial loss for Google.

China will make itself whatever its government wants it to become

Perhaps. That doesn't mean one has to collaborate with it or even that collaboration is a financially sound long term strategy.

Hmmm (1, Insightful)

joevans (1504079) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573510)

I don't know...

Re:Hmmm (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573618)

+1 Profound

Re:Hmmm (3, Funny)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573644)

What is the sound of no thoughts happening?

Google loses. Also: duh. (4, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573522)

Hey, it turns out that there are stupid questions!

Re:Google loses. Also: duh. (3, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573888)

Or, Google keeps a Chinese language site, without any filtering. Let them look like asses for blocking it with their firewall that for some reason, they keep denying exists. Even keep the country code domain, until they force you to leave. That sounds like one hell of a trade dispute with a country that NEEDS a "favored nation" status with us. I still don't understand why google doesn't just remove themselves from the country, but still have a presence easily reached by Chinese citizens. (kind of like gambling sites, that are illegal for US citizens, which is against treaties, and we got a multi-billion judgement against us for)

Re:Google loses. Also: duh. (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574038)

Or, Google keeps a Chinese language site, without any filtering.

Interesting idea, and they might just do it. However, lacking any local presence reduces their ability to effectively sell advertisements (which is where there revenue comes from). Maybe they still can, but less so. But then China might crack down on the advertisers.

If they do this, it will be closer to "You can't stop the signal" or "I'll be back" than lets make money today.

Google (1)

sanche (98750) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573526)

That is a very, very large beta testing crowd. China will eventually figure out their own technology, but Google will not (any time soon) be able to pass up the benefits of such a heavily populated country.

Re:Google (2, Insightful)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573788)

but Google will not (any time soon) be able to pass up the benefits of such a heavily populated country.

Even when that populated country isn't infected with a consumerist "I like to buy stuff" mentality? (They're not quite there yet, but signs point in that direction, at least in the major metropolitan areas)

I often wonder how much google really stands to benefit. They don't make money by making information accessible and easy to find; they depend on advertising. If people aren't buying things or advertising online, how does Google make their money?

Re:Google (2, Informative)

sanche (98750) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573948)

but Google will not (any time soon) be able to pass up the benefits of such a heavily populated country.

Even when that populated country isn't infected with a consumerist "I like to buy stuff" mentality? (They're not quite there yet, but signs point in that direction, at least in the major metropolitan areas)

I often wonder how much google really stands to benefit. They don't make money by making information accessible and easy to find; they depend on advertising. If people aren't buying things or advertising online, how does Google make their money?

With over 1.3 billion people, even a small percentage is significant. If 75% of China never touched Adwords, the starting crowd is still larger than the US.

who loses? (5, Insightful)

rarel (697734) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573574)

the Chinese people.

Re:who loses? (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573654)

the Chinese people.

Maybe in the short term. But long-term the effects may be substantially different. It is certainly easy to visualize an outcome where the government is shamed into more open policies. Of course, its easy to visualize the reverse too. Which, if nothing else, suggests that the answer here really isn't known - only time will tell.

Re:who loses? (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573974)

It is certainly easy to visualize an outcome where the government is shamed into more open policies. Of course, its easy to visualize the reverse too.

Where Google is praised into more closed policies?

Re:who loses? (1)

Staniel (595001) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573862)

I asked myself the same thing: isn't the better question with a third part?

Who loses: Google, China, or the Chinese people?

Then the answer is obvious (to us enlightened Western Capitalists at least), but more frustratingly unsolvable - just how does one dismantle a massive, successful, Communist regime?

Re:who loses? (0, Troll)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574374)

Then the answer is obvious (to us enlightened Western Capitalists at least), but more frustratingly unsolvable - just how does one dismantle a massive, successful, Communist regime?

It's actually far more easy [wikipedia.org] than you realize.

phew phew phew (1)

Niubi (1578987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573586)

A drop in the sea really - China's going to re-adapt as is Google. Same as eBay, DubLi will have to readapt for the ever-changing world.

Of course Google loses (5, Insightful)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573592)

Google loses, Baidu wins, and China doesn't give a damn either way. All those Google China employees will likely just move their skills over to Baidu (assuming they were locals to begin with and probably many of the ex-pats as well) and take what they know with them when they do. Baidu gets an automatic monopoly, no matter what Google's current market share, and China, or specifically the CCP doesn't care because they still get what they want- the look of being the caring provider that "supports competition" while still controlling the flow of data.

Re:Of course Google loses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31573680)

Except there will be no competition if Google pulls out and everyone knows it. That the majority of science and tech types in China much prefer to use Google over Baidu should tell you something--it should tell you that it helps them do their work more/better/faster than Baidu. The resulting slowdown is a definite loss for China.

China, however, won't give a damn. They'd rather keep their iron fist on the minds of the population than be more efficient, if push comes to shove.

Re:Of course Google loses (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573790)

A temporary loss at worst... the information gained from the folks working Google China will be carried over to form new companies that will compete with Baidu or they will make Baidu better such that there really isn't that much loss. Either way, China will have been better off for Google being there, even if it's temporary.

Re:Of course Google loses (4, Insightful)

jacks0n (112153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573866)

China was never going to let Google really succeed anyway.

If there was any actual danger of that they would send in their cybergoons first, and their meatgoons second.

To which Google can either bend over and take it and become a de facto arm of the state, or can leave.

Might as well leave with a splash.

Re:Of course Google loses (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574294)

China does give a damn, which is why you see all the editorials in Chinese newspapers saying that 'Google should obey the law' and that 'harmony is more important than free speech.' In internet stories you will also see Chinese kids (as likely as not members of the communist party) trying to defend their government with similar arguments (you may even see some in this story, saying things like, 'I am from China, and we all think Google should obey the law!'). Google is drawing serious attention to the censorship, and it is making the government very uncomfortable.

In the best case, everyone would win, the people because they have free speech, the government because it will be more stable (dictatorships are never stable in the long term), and Google because they will continue to be able to operate in China. In the short term that is not going to happen, but Google is definitely drawing attention to the issue in China. It helps that Google doesn't come across as another corporation seeking nothing but money; they appear to actually care about the Chinese people, and it is hard for the government to demonize them for that (even if the appearances are not entirely correct, but to be honest it is hard to believe Sergey Brin at least doesn't have sincere intentions).

Who cares? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31573602)

With unemployment rising over 10%, I fail to see why I should care about China, the Chinese people, or the government which oppresses China and it's peoples.

I have real issues to deal with, like health care, job security, owning a home, owning a vehicle, etc. It's really bad enough that I have to feel like my country is about to plunge into a 2nd US Civil War every day of the working week... I really just don't care about China anymore. When I bring up the fact they knowingly put lead in our children's toys, smuggle in counterfeit Tylenol and Advil, all while using child and slave labor to manufacture these things, it kinda puts the poop frosting on the shit cake.

The advertisers lose! (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573646)

Without Google adds, how will the Chinese know that their penises are small much less that there's a cream to make them bigger which costs only $19.95!

Re:The advertisers lose! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31574032)

Without Google adds, how will the Chinese know that their penises are small much less that there's a cream to make them bigger which costs only $19.95*!

* plus shipping and handling.

Re:The advertisers lose! (0)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574166)

a cream to make them bigger which costs only $19.95!

Made from body parts of endangered species... bloody capitalists! Oh wait...

Breaking news! (5, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573690)

Not even a link to a story yet, but the ticker on the BBC News home page [bbc.co.uk] is reporting that Google has announced that it has stopped censoring its search engine in China. Since China has already made her position clear on this eventuality I suppose this must mean that Google believes that it might as well be hanged for a wolf, than a lamb.

I'm nipping out for some popcorn; the next couple of days are going to be really interesting...

Re:Breaking news! (5, Informative)

Lyrrad (219543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573756)

Google just posted to their blog [blogspot.com] what they're doing.

They're redirecting all their users to http://google.com.hk/ [google.com.hk] and are maintaining a China service availability page [google.com] to update on the status of their services in mainland China.

They also plan on maintaining their presence in China for sales and development, though they say that sales will be dependent on whether the .hk page is blocked.

Re:Breaking news! (5, Informative)

Leto-II (1509) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574012)

Also, when redirected to the HK page it is in the style of the mainland page, not the original HK page, and it is in simplified, not traditional, characters. When accessing the page in simplified characters it also gives a message: Welcome to the new home of Google China.

Re:Breaking news! (3, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574102)

So then it's official. Google is, officially anyway, pulling out of China. Can we now say "Good on you Google!" or do the cynics in the crowd demand that we wait until google.com.hk is actually blocked by China before we express our support?

Re:Breaking news! (1)

Jeian (409916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573962)

Google as an entity doesn't have a lot to lose from doing that, but have they considered what may happen to their employees?

Yes (3, Informative)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574250)

From the end of google's blog post:

Finally, we would like to make clear that all these decisions have been driven and implemented by our executives in the United States, and that none of our employees in China can, or should, be held responsible for them. Despite all the uncertainty and difficulties they have faced since we made our announcement in January, they have continued to focus on serving our Chinese users and customers. We are immensely proud of them.

Re:Breaking news! (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574074)

It is a brilliant move that takes advantage of Hong Kong not having speech restrictions, yet also being a part of China. They are redirecting all their traffic to the google.com.hk website.

The great thing is that China has based their entire argument on the fact that 'Google must obey the law,' and if they don't, they are not upholding the harmony of the country. Now Google has found a solution that is 100% legal. They are drawing attention to the fact that Hong Kong doesn't need censorship, and yet they are still able to maintain 'harmony'. The government is going to have to come up with a new argument for why they should censor Google's search engine. It will be interesting to see what they do.

Re:Breaking news! (3, Insightful)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574202)

The great thing is that China has based their entire argument on the fact that 'Google must obey the law,' and if they don't, they are not upholding the harmony of the country. Now Google has found a solution that is 100% legal.

Never underestimate the power of propaganda, especially from an entity that owns the media. China doesn't care how Google is bypassing the law, and will still spin this as being illegal.

Wow, I sure do feel sorry for Google now (5, Insightful)

axl917 (1542205) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573712)

I mean, without China, there's only 5.5 billion people left in the world to cater to. How can they possibly get by on such meager numbers?

Re:Wow, I sure do feel sorry for Google now (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573826)

Well, if many people are right, china will be the economic center of this century, so, they could be losing out on a lot of potential.

Re:Wow, I sure do feel sorry for Google now (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574188)

A lot of Chinese people have internet connections. How many of these 5.5bn other people have internet connections. There is Europe - 0.5bn, USA - 0.3bn, and a few other countries that aren't particularly big such as Canada (0.03bn), Australia (0.02bn), and I suppose Nigeria (0.15bn). In the case of Nigera, the number of internet users isn't necessarily that high. It just seems like it.

I don't get it... (0, Flamebait)

jernejk (984031) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573716)

Chinese corporations that want to do business in the USA, have to respect USA's law, right? It's just a clash of two value systems. And as Ford would say: "yes, mine is better."

Re:I don't get it... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31573760)

North American companies have a pretty easy ride on their own turf. When they expand overseas they tend to fail basic due diligance and continue doing whatever they like. When they're warned they're breaking the laws of the land, they'll arrogantly continue doing what ever they please. Occasionally, they'll get bitch slapped, but mostly receive a nominal fine. China are a little fussier than most countries, and google have just found out the hard way.

Re:I don't get it... (4, Insightful)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573834)

Yes, Google has to respect Chinese law if it wants to do business in China. As a result, it has decided not to do business in China. (Well, there are almost certainly other significant reasons as well, but the censorship laws are part of the reason).

China attacked Google (1)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573908)

Google certainly bristled under the restrictions of the Chinese government, but they complied with the letter of the law. I'm pretty sure that's not why Google is pulling out.

Google is leaving China because China has been trying to "hack" Google. by that I mean, they used disreputable means to gain access to and undermine Google's technology and resources with the goal of using Google as a vector to attack other American businesses and interests.

Or at least, the Chinese government's action precipitated the pull-out.

Re:I don't get it... (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573932)

It's not about business as much as it is about censorship. What you are forgetting is that the current group of Chinese students don't even know what tank man is, never mind what was happening in their own country when he stood in front of the tanks. Everyone seems to agree that Saddam Husein needed to be taken out because he was a bad man. The Chinese government is a bad government and everyone is politically dancing around this fact while trying to make money in China. Google is saying "hey, we have a motto and doing business with such a government is not in keeping with it". No matter who wins or loses, this stands to be a surrealistic highlight of the fact that there are bad people in the world, and the world is too small to allow them to corrupt such a large part of the world with censorship, secret police, and many other unsavory things. The mere existence of the Chinese government and who they will be supportive of creates a safe environment for more of the same to blossom in different places. It's not like the red scare or anything, but if they don't want to do business with anyone who will not also partake in ill treatment of their citizens, the world really needs to step up as a group and say NO, you're wrong and we won't play. That means that we should stop buying things made in China. period. If Google can say no, the rest of us should be saying no. If you want cheap goods, try another country of origin, just don't buy 'made in China' goods. Besides, your pets and children may live longer if you don't.

Re:I don't get it... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574330)

That means that we should stop buying things made in China. period.

Have you actually been able to do this? Even if I shared your opinion, I doubt a China boycott is feasible.

China isn't where I'd like them to be, either, but take a step back and compare the China of 30 years ago to the China of today. They have undergone a remarkable change in a very short amount of time. There is more to come.

Freedom (3, Interesting)

turb (5673) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573726)

There's a small part of me that would like to see other companies follow in the footsteps of Google. Get out of China. Just leave.

Why?

This is a poor example but I can't help using it. Remember South Africa? There was a time when quite a number of companies just didn't do business there given how that government was (not) working for it's people. I'd like to think this helped change things for the better in South Africa.

It's not that I want to force my idea / style of government onto the people of China, but .. well .. besides North Korea and Cuba are there any other communistic states left? Would any people as a whole choose to convert to a communistic system. I'm thinking no.

And in a way, walking away from China as a whole, send a bit of a wake up call to the Chinese that, "O by the way, we care about how people are treated. We care about freedom." They need to too. When people in a place such as China can see how things are elsewhere in the world, it can and should plant the seed for change for the better for China. Probably overly optimistic on my part but hey, it's something.

Great grand internet firewalls need to go. Speech needs to be free.

Re:Freedom (2)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574044)

besides North Korea and Cuba are there any other communistic states left?

Off the top of my head, Vietnam seems to be doing somewhat okay (a mini-China from the looks of things), and Cuba, well, is faring much like its first premier Fidel.

Great grand internet firewalls need to go. Speech needs to be free.

I didn't realize it at the time, but the Berlin Wall fell not long after Reagan called on Gorbachev to tear it down (which was on its face more about bravado than it was about smart diplomacy, but eh).

Unfortunately the Chinese have likely learned not that they should liberate their people, but that they could learn how the Soviets failed politically and craft ways to keep the Communists in power. Everyone thought that the regime would crumble once their economy was more globalized, but they're more powerful than ever before. The Chinese Communists only understand power, and they are more than willing to use any means necessary to keep their people locked down, whether out in the open as in the Tiananmen Square massacre, or by blocking (read: monitoring) their Internet transactions.

Re:Freedom (1)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574092)

I liked and agreed with the sentiments in the rest of your post apart from this bit:

It's not that I want to force my idea / style of government onto the people of China, but .. well .. besides North Korea and Cuba are there any other communistic states left? Would any people as a whole choose to convert to a communistic system. I'm thinking no.

If anything - shouldn't it be a push for self-government? Democratic communism falls under this banner.

I say if anything - since I lean strongly in favour of "if the people want it enough, they will get it themselves".

Re:Freedom (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574162)

Engaging totalitarian governments with market forces is a much preferred solution than to engage them with armed forces; however, there is always the risk of just giving them more sophisticated means to strike back at you with.

What is going to happen is that China is going to fully modernize its military in the next 10-20 years and either they collapse like the Soviet Union ( unlikely ) or they take Taiwan and start imposing their view of geopolitics with guns, tanks, planes and subs MADE IN CHINA.

hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31573738)

don't mess with china

Update (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31573770)

They just updated their blog: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/new-approach-to-china-update.html

And not even two minutes after reading this... (2, Informative)

sean_nestor (781844) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573796)

...I see this article [yahoo.com] which says Google is attempting a sort of compromise.

Google Inc. will shift its search engine for China off the mainland but won't shut it down altogether, and it will maintain other operations in the country. It's an attempt to balance its stance against censorship with its desire to profit from an explosively growing Internet market.

On Monday afternoon, visitors to Google.cn were being redirected to Google's Chinese-language service based in Hong Kong. The page said, according to a Google translation, "Welcome to Google Search in China's new home."

Google's attempt at a compromise could resolve a 2 1/2-month impasse pitting the world's most powerful Internet company against the government of the world's most populous country.

Microsoft wins (1)

yossarianuk (1402187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573830)

I've no idea who 'loses' but i'm sure Microsoft search share will go up if google pulls out . It's not like Microsoft will have any issues doing deals with any totalitarian regime, after all they get their orders from the murky depths of hell itself.

I hope that when google do pull out they re-direct all searches to pages of 'missing history' and goatse man at random.

(Just heard on Channel4 news uk : Google have stopped censoring results!!! )

Anyway good one Google !

At least the Chinese population will get a taste of internet freedom (or at least a freer idea)

Depends on how spiteful Google is (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573858)

Will they start actively trying to sabotage Chinese web efforts? I don't mean by just giving unfiltered results. Will they try to do a Radio Free Europe, only make it actually useful? It wouldn't be the first time a western corporation declared war on China but would they really go so far?

Google's been walking a thin line recently (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573896)

They're starting to tarnish their image as the the Good Guy of the big internet companies. For me, their capitulation to the Chinese government was a big smug on their logo. And, that isn't the only questionable decision they've made in the last few years. Once you lose trust, you never get it back. Blind faith in a company is a powerful asset in itself.

Re:Google's been walking a thin line recently (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574226)

Have you actually compared Google to your random US company? I think regardless who you compare them with they come out pretty decent.

Some people tend to put them to extremely higher standards than anyone else. Its not enough they are nice, they have to be some kind of techie Ghandies fused with Jesus and a couple of hundred saints.

Playing to lose for the win (2, Insightful)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573924)

Tough business call. If Google knuckles under to keep their market presence in China then they sacrifice a great deal of the good will and karma they've earned through the "Don't be evil" policy.

Refusing to continue to censor in China will clearly be a short-term loss for Google as it's pretty obvious the Chinese government has zero tolerance for any kind of non-compliance. (Heck, their only way to handle any kind of non-compliance is to imprison and Disappear their own citizens, ex-pulse foreigners and fine or refuse business with foreign corporations.)

However, I argue that if Google holds its ground and swallows the short term loss they will win long term. I fully expect Google and democracy as a whole to outlive Communist China.

Google isn't losing anything (5, Insightful)

Judinous (1093945) | more than 4 years ago | (#31573964)

Google is a business, like any other. Do you think that they haven't run a CBA on this move? While the Chinese population is large, the viable market for Google's products is not. How many people in China have regular internet access? How many of those have disposable income to spend on things they see in advertisements? How many Chinese companies that market locally are going to have their profitability affected by search engine advertisements? On the other hand, how much does it cost Google to protect against cyber-attacks from the government? How much does it cost them to lose their trade secrets and IP? How much does it cost them in goodwill elsewhere to remain in business in China, following those draconian laws?

Google is coming out ahead in this move; that's why they made it in the first place. The Chinese government comes out ahead as well, since they gain even greater control over the flow of information within their borders. The only ones who lose are the Chinese people.

China, pro-competition? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31573976)

Not really, at least what I've read. You might be ok if you're a small operator but once you are occupying a niche that is competing with a state-connected enterprise

Same thing goes for entrepreneurs that start to make a healthy profit, a state-connected enterprise will push you out to assume those profits themselves.

(state-connected refers to those enterprises run or owned by individuals connected to the elite of the "Communist" party, i.e. some general's nephew)

Its not always a loss (2, Insightful)

CapnStank (1283176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574020)

How come whenever it comes to win/lose with business the only factor really looked at is bottom line profit? If I'm reading the entire situation correctly Google is set to win, big, on this decision. Sure they'll be collecting less profit from a major country in the world economics but they save on a number of levels often ignored:
1) They've already faced legal battles regarding the security of their accounts and information. Fighting court battles isn't cheap and the press related to "Google accounts hacked" doesn't bode well for them anyway.
2) Stepping back from a country who has values different from the majority of Google's "customers" will save it from requiring a highly diverse business plan when not necessary. I'm sure its not cheap to run an entirely separate company from their own in China.

I'm certain there's more but there's a little summary, feel free to add your own. Essentially I feel Google wins, sure, they don't have a higher bottom end profit but if they are still in the black at the end of it all then they've bought themselves enough time to re-evaluate their Chinese venture or anything else for that matter.

Lose-Lose? Maybe more like no deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31574028)

According to Terry Hird, UC Berkeley, Founder of Negotiation-International, The Chinese are not obsessed with win-win, and are definitely looking for the upper hand.

Many times when your partner is not pursuing win-win, you just need to be prepared to walk away. That's not lose-lose, that's no deal. It's only lose-lose if you stay in and accept the loss.

Make no mistake, losing google will hurt China. If marketshare falls to baidu, then baidu is baidu's incentive to compete is reduced significantly.

China (1)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574086)

Google's market capital: $153.4 billion as of October 5 2009. China's GDP: $4.33 Trillion US dollars as of 2008. China's got more, therefore it's got more to lose. Simple math.

Google is not pulling out. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574090)

They are just refusing to do business by Chinas terms. Google will still be there, just not censored, edited and altered to suit China authorities. I suspect it will make Google more attractive to Chinese citizens at large, not less. Once China dumps their censoring Google will be the knight in shining armor while Bing, Baidu etc are the crooks nobody will want to associate with. My suspicion is that Google plays this for the long run and has calculated there aren't enough short term benefits selling their soul to the devil.

China will lose most (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574146)

A lot of technology that goes over to china is stolen by the chinese government or other companies. Now china will lose it's ability to learn anything from a premier technology company. And Google keeping their secrets will allow them to make more money, I expect that is why they are leaving after the chinese government got caught hacking into Google's Systems.

Chinese Government wins. (1)

beatle11 (1086123) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574164)

Plain and simple. They want to control the information flow and cutting out Google is huge for that. Google loses out on alot of revenue. 35% of China is about 700 million people. Thats alot of money they will lose. The Chinese people will hurt the most though.

Clearly China Loses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31574194)

I did a scientific simulation [googlefight.com] to determine the loser in this scenario. China loses by 100%

Stop the teasing! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574228)

Just break up already! Honestly, there's less drama in a year's worth of tabloid stories about some boofruck celebrity couple's breakup and the custody of their mutant child.

For once... (1)

curious.corn (167387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574232)

... if - after having tried to compromise - perhaps hoping to slowly leak some freedom, perhaps naïvely and hoping, after all, to make a buck out of it as well - Google really does go all the way and walks out of this open-air experiment of Corporate Fascism that is the PRC... ... I will - for once - open my wallet and buy shares.

I've donated to RIAA Radar, and that was only for silly tunes and jingles. This is about Freedom of Speech, Human Rights!

I will, I promise. If they do walk away, it would be such a precedent... such a clear, outstanding, unique, resounding, revolutionary, provocative event

Edo

Google's not leaving (1)

ChronoFish (948067) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574318)

Google may be prepared to "exit" as in get kicked out, but they are not leaving China on their own. They are however stopping censorship - the real question here is how will China respond?

From a marketing standpoint, they can take the high-road here and look brilliant and doing no evil. They are also the only ones who can claim they don't censor and you will - at least in the short term - see their 35% market share (or whatever) shoot up - while also ratcheting up pubic opinion in the US.

-CF

google has more to lose (1)

bomcha (1672066) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574338)

google loses a big share of it's users When the world has more contentious issue like nuke by China I don't think google pulling out would have enough repercussion.We don't hear other companies pulling out.
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