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Google vs. China — Who's Got the Most To Lose? 232

Posted by Soulskill
from the internet-pundits dept.
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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Google vs. China — Who's Got the Most To Lose?

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  • Microsoft wins (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gksmith (1277536)
    Google loses, China's reputation will recover after a blip, and Microsoft is waiting with Bing.
    • Recover? From what? This won't even register as a blip in the larger world.

      • Re:Microsoft wins (Score:4, Interesting)

        by erroneus (253617) on Monday March 22, 2010 @04:24PM (#31574750) Homepage

        Actually, from a U.S. perspective, the words "Google did it, why won't you?" are likely to be repeated over and over and over again when it comes to standing up to China and its policies.

        As the U.S. government and other entities have questioned companies doing business in China about their stance and involvement in human rights violations, the stock answer has been "we are just following the law." That stock answer will no longer fly as a company, in this case Google, will have shown what may be interpreted as "conscience" or "ethical behavior" when it comes to dealing with Chinese policy.

        • Re:Microsoft wins (Score:4, Insightful)

          by wealthychef (584778) on Monday March 22, 2010 @04:48PM (#31575128)
          Ethical investing is a niche market. We in America value the almighty dollar above all else, and not without reason. So if some dastardly company were to now sell out and take the Chinese money and make a bundle, they will be rewarded with higher stock prices. Corporate bonuses will rise. That's all that matters, right?
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by erroneus (253617)

            Most people in the U.S. idolize heroes and men in wearing white hats even if our day-to-day behavior doesn't reflect that. We are hero worshippers and we won't find it difficult to latch onto Google for taking a stand in favor of human rights if that is the way this will be painted. (And I believe it will be painted that way here in the U.S.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by TubeSteak (669689)

            Ethical investing is a niche market. We in America value the almighty dollar above all else, and not without reason.

            Actually, divesting or disinvestment has become a big deal for businesses and investment funds.
            The idea is to target businesses/funds involved in countries with poor human rights or totalitarian governments.

            South Africa (because of apartheid) was the first country to come under sustained non-governmental economic pressure.
            Off the top of my head: Iran, Israel, Sudan, N. Korea, Syria, Zimbabwe, and Myanmar have all been targets.
            Use the Google and you can read more about it. It isn't nearly the niche field you

    • Re:Microsoft wins (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:30PM (#31573848) Homepage Journal

      Microsoft is waiting with Bling.

      FTFY

    • by dickens (31040)

      It's very hard for me to see how China's reputation could suffer in any way in the first place. They're pretty much in the basement to begin with.

  • 35%? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shin-LaC (1333529)
    The number that was being thrown around in the last thread was around half of that.
  • Google (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:08PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:46PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Znork (31774)

      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 cus

      • 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.

        When they stop censoring, China will block them. It's really that simple.

        • I argue that holes will appear faster in the walls faster than China can find fingers to fill them.
    • by Idbar (1034346)
      From Google's blog:

      On January 12, we announced on this blog that Google and more than twenty other U.S. companies had been the victims of a sophisticated cyber attack originating from China, and that during our investigation into these attacks we had uncovered evidence to suggest that the Gmail accounts of dozens of human rights activists connected with China were being routinely accessed by third parties, most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on their computers. We also made clear that these attacks and the surveillance they uncovered--combined with attempts over the last year to further limit free speech on the web in China including the persistent blocking of websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Docs and Blogger--had led us to conclude that we could no longer continue censoring our results on Google.cn.

      If their had persistent blocking of YouTube, GoogleDocs and Blogger, then they were loosing already because their services were limited. They didn't have much to do there anyways.

    • Re:Google (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ephemeriis (315124) on Monday March 22, 2010 @04:19PM (#31574680)

      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.

      Of course Google also gets to look like the good guy... Tried to stand up for freedom and was smacked down by the mean ol' Chinese government... May actually get them some new customers that they might not have had before. At the very least all this press is good advertising.

      You're probably right... They're losing access to a huge market... But it's still possible that Google will wind up doing pretty well after all this. Sure, they'll lose some income... But how much were they spending (not just in money) to keep things up and running in China? Obviously Google thinks the cost outweighs the benefit.

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

      You seem to think that a government can miraculously transform itself into anything it wants, and automatically be successful. That is not true.

      Sure, the Chinese government is pretty damn stable. It is unlikely to topple because of this Google thing. And they'll release plenty of propaganda that will likely make them look even better in the eyes of the Chinese public...

      But this has to hurt their international image. They're so repressive that Google couldn't even do business with them. I'm sure plenty of other companies will think twice before opening offices in China.

      There are probably plenty of citizens who've gotten used to Google, and will feel its absence as well. Not to mention the folks who were employed by Google.

      I don't honestly believe that any of that will amount to a whole hell of a lot... Google's just a search engine, I doubt if they'll have that much of an impact... But there will be an impact. Both within China and without.

      • Re:Google (Score:5, Informative)

        by dave562 (969951) on Monday March 22, 2010 @04:58PM (#31575302) Journal

        The only part of Google's business that is leaving China is the search engine. Their other divisions (mobile phone with Android, advertising, etc) are staying put. They have a lot of avenues through which to offer their products to the Chinese. The search engine is their core tool, but it isn't their only one.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:09PM (#31573522) Homepage
    Hey, it turns out that there are stupid questions!
    • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:32PM (#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)

      • 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.

      • RTFA. That's exactly what they're doing.

        www.google.cn now redirects to www.google.com.hk - a site that is not affected by Chinese censorship, and is in the same language.

  • who loses? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rarel (697734) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:12PM (#31573574) Homepage
    the Chinese people.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

      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.

  • by bkr1_2k (237627) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:14PM (#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.

    • by jacks0n (112153) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:31PM (#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.

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:58PM (#31574294) Journal
      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).
  • by Kenja (541830) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:17PM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Idiomatick (976696)
      If you've been getting a lot of penis enhancement ads.... You probably will be offended when you find out that google uses targeted ads. For example I get ads about weapons grade uranium, inactive volcanos and military satellites.
  • Breaking news! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zocalo (252965) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:19PM (#31573690) Homepage
    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! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zocalo (252965) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:23PM (#31573740) Homepage
      Link now up [bbc.co.uk], although still a little light on details at the moment, expect updates soon.
    • Re:Breaking news! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lyrrad (219543) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:24PM (#31573756) Homepage

      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.

    • by Jeian (409916)

      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 (Score:4, Informative)

        by c++0xFF (1758032) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:56PM (#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.

        • What happens if/when China decides to hold employees hostage ("reeducation through labor" as punishment for "disrupting a harmonious society") anyway?

          • by natehoy (1608657)

            Leads to an interesting moral dilemma, doesn't it?

            What happens if/when Google decides not to pull out of China, and they do something that the Chinese government disagrees with and China decides to do this anyway?

            What happens if Google is told to help maintain the Great Firewall of China "or else" their employees will be arrested?

            At least this way, the ex-employees are not Google employees and technically have nothing that they can be validly punished for. If the Chinese government decides to arrest and pu

        • by t0p (1154575)

          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.

          The Google management are either extremely stupid or extremely heartless. Regardless of whether or not their Chinese employees should be held responsible for the US executives' decisions, the fact is that the Chinese government certainly can hold them responsible. If China decides that Google is an "enemy of the people", the Chinese employees will also be "enemies of the people", "capitalist lackeys" and so on.

          It is a sad fact that many Communist justice systems didn't/don't really care about objective tr

    • Re:Breaking news! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:43PM (#31574074) Journal
      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! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by c++0xFF (1758032) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:53PM (#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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by phantomfive (622387)
          Propaganda is powerful, but it has limits. My understanding is that no one in the USSR believed the official news outlets by the end. They may not have known what was really going on all the time, but they knew the official news wasn't giving them the whole story.

          The more the government has to distort the truth in their message, the weaker their message will be.
      • by westlake (615356)

        It is a brilliant move that takes advantage of Hong Kong not having speech restrictions, yet also being a part of China.

        What price does Hong Kong pay for becoming a pawn in this game?

        • This is a really good question, and when China took over Hong Kong, they made a lot of promises to protect freedoms, etc. A good number of the Hong Kongers didn't trust those, and many of the emigrated to the US, Canada, or Australia. Every once in a while there are protests in Hong Kong when the Chinese government does something they don't like, but for the most part (in my opinion) their liberties have remained intact. If the government did try to start censoring Hong Kong internet, there would likely
      • by t0p (1154575)

        I really don't understand the situation wrt Hong Kong. When Britain handed back the island, China made certain promises about freedom and stuff. Okay, I get that. What I don't get is why China needs to keep their promises. Hong Kong belongs to China. If the Chinese government decide to harmonize Hong Kong law with that of the mainland, what is anyone going to do about it? Is Britain going to take the island back by force? Uh, no. Is the UN Security Council going to impose sanctions? Of course not - C

    • Finally! Bowing to the censors has only harmed Google's reputation in the West. I'm glad to see this happen.

  • Google win (Score:3, Funny)

    by commodoresloat (172735) * on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:20PM (#31573694)

    Duh. There's an easy way to figure this one out: http://googlefight.com/index.php?lang=en_GB&word1=google&word2=china [googlefight.com]

  • by axl917 (1542205) <axl@mail.plymouth.edu> on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:21PM (#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?

    • by gangien (151940)

      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.

      • by t0p (1154575)

        But is a potential loss really an actual loss? If I chose different lottery numbers last week I would now be a millionaire. So have I actually lost all those millions?

        We all know what "woulda, coulda" achieved.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      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.

      • by Marcika (1003625)

        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.

        If you count by heads, you can start with India - a developing country where at least the urban kids grow up with internet cafes, just like in China - and Google has 50%+ market share, towering over all others.

        But you should really count by consumption (since advertisers will tend to only pay search engines for proper consumer eyeballs with bucks to spend) - and by nominal GDP, US/EU/JP still share 60%-65% of the market (vs. 7% in China)

  • Freedom (Score:3, Interesting)

    by turb (5673) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:22PM (#31573726) Homepage

    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.

    • 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).

      Unfort

    • >> Would any people as a whole choose to convert to a communistic system. I'm thinking no.

      Headlines: Obama's Health Care Reform Bill Passed [associatednewstoday.com]

    • by Rockoon (1252108)

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

      China isnt all that communist anymore, and besides you seem to be confused. The censorship of information has very little to do with communism vs capitalism vs socialism vs etc.., or even democracy vs republic vs monarchy vs anarchy vs etc..

      Censorship does not play favorites with government styles or economic systems.

      How come nobody bothers to ask what the people of China think about this all? Sure, lots of them seem to use Google at least some of the time, but is it because they are bothered by the ce

  • by SOdhner (1619761) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:24PM (#31573752) Homepage Journal
    Google is now redirecting to uncensored results via Google.hk, and they have a page showing what services China is blocking so they can track it in a transparent way. Take a look: http://www.google.com/prc/report.html#hl=en [google.com]
  • by sean_nestor (781844) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:26PM (#31573796) Homepage

    ...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.

  • 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?

  • 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.
  • by H0p313ss (811249) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:34PM (#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.

  • by Judinous (1093945) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:37PM (#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.
    • Do you think that they haven't run a CBA on this move?

      In all the CBAs I've seen, it is obvious from a profit perspective the right move for Google is to stay in China. They are making around $300million in revenue from China, which isn't a giant percentage of Google's income, but it is still a lot of money. Unless there is some secret liability in China that no one knows about, then the CBA definitely says, "Stay in China."

      Having read some of the things Sergey Brin has said and written, it is really hard to believe that he is not sincere in this. The guy

  • by CapnStank (1283176) on Monday March 22, 2010 @03:40PM (#31574020) Homepage
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • ... 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 s

  • 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

  • Because everyone knows that Google IS the modern internet.

  • Of course. It's politics: always a negative sum game. The question for Google is "Will we lose less by leaving than by staying?" How much China loses is none of their concern. The matter of censorship is between the Chinese people and their government.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    And say China loses. Why? China needs the US more than the US needs China. If China pulled out their investments, it would drop the value of the US dollar, which could have the effect of jumpstarting the stagnant US economy by making it suddenly a lot cheaper to relocate jobs into the US (much like how it is with China and their practice of artificially suppressing the value of their currency by 40-50% and gaming the free trade deals with monetary policy). On the other hand, China really, really needs t

  • by jonadab (583620) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:49PM (#31576814) Homepage Journal
    Short-term, Google probably has more to lose (although, arguably, they also have more to *gain* by cutting ties with China; it certainly isn't going to do their reputation in the West any harm).

    In the long term, however, I think China has more to lose.
    Google is not the first company to decide doing business in China is More Trouble Than It's Worth. As it stands, a lot of people deal with China not because they're a pleasure to do business with, but because it "seems important", because China's so big. That's not a good basis for a solid relationship. If they continue doing just about everything they can think of to alienate people, China may eventually find themselves screaming "we're important, come do business with us" to a world that has lost the willingness to put up with their nonsense.

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