More Chinese opinions on Google leaving China (Keso vs. People’s Daily)

| January 14th, 2010

20100113-google-01

I picked these two articles because they showed two completely different views on the Google China situation in China. First one is a blog post written by KESO (洪波) a well-known IT blogger in China.  (I have translated one of is blog posts back when Kai-fu Lee resigned from Google China.) The latter one is an article from one of the Chinese media site: People’s daily, written by a netizen named Jiang Bojing (姜伯静).  Compare them for yourself…

Google to withdraw from China

By well-known IT blogger: KESO

Google officially announced that they will no longer review and censor search results on google.cn and they will have discussions with the Chinese government in the next few weeks. How can Google.cn operate legally under the premise of not providing filtered searches? If they cannot achieve these, Google will consider closing Google.cn, even all of its China offices.

To Google, this is a difficult decision. To me, this is a painful choice. Most of my life online depend on Google. I use Google to search, Gmail to send emails, Google Reader to read many of my subscribed contents, Google Docs for managing all my office documents and Picasa for processing photos and even marking their geo-locations… All of these, there is no third party application can replace Google. Not to mention that there are large numbers of Chinese enterprises, such as Alibaba, need to rely on Google’s search and advertising for their global business.

I also know that in the past four years, there has always been the possibility of Google leaving China, Kai-Fu, like a fireman, has been shuttling back and forth and mediating many times. Today’s result, perhaps is after Google comprehensively assessed its business in China, and made such helpless decision. To the Chinese Government, “if you want this market in China, you must listen to my orders.” But to Google, it is more willing to play a game where the rules are more transparent. Also, the past 4 years Google was put into a situation that it was constantly being blamed for whatever happened. It made Google to realize that the future business profit will always be strictly limited. And the black-box type of search results are screened and compromised, it is forced to be under more and more moral pressures.

To me, Google has the world’s best knowledge management tools and productivity tools. But China’s regulatory authorities do not think so. Ideology is what they are more concerned with. I believe Google’s statement will be seen as an ideological trick, which will anger the Chinese government even more. In the years ahead, I may have to give more efforts in order for me to visit those Google tools which I can’t live without. This is a consequence I must deal with.

YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress, Google… the best websites and services in the world, one by one are away from China, maybe this is the biggest tragedy of the Chinese people of this generation.

Li Zhehong (CEO of Baidu) once said (in 2006), 5 years later, we will not see Google anymore. I believe him, but I do not want to see Google leaving China today like this. To compete with the best players is a blessing, especially on the technology driven internet. The Chinese internet, lack of experts, should probably be called as a country area network. Competition may be more black-boxed, and more under the table. For those Chinese netizens who have aspirations and ambitions, must be more diligent to train hard on how to get over the wall, to welcome the “iron house” era (difficult times) of Chinese Internet with good state of affairs.

***

Leaving? Google is pouting!

From People’s Daily, by Jiang Bojing  (姜伯静)

According to the foreign media, on January 12, 2009, 3 pm U.S. local time, Google senior vice president and chief counsel David Drummond issued a statement on Google’s official blog. Goggle is considering closing the “Google China” website as well as the China office.

This news took the internet by storm, not inferior to the news of Baidu being hacked. All of sudden, all kinds of voices echoed through the internet, most of them were regrets and pressing Google to stay, as if Google is really leaving. To this, I am very indifferent. I never think Google will leave, even if they leave, it will be temporary, or they are not really leaving, who knows when they will be back. Therefore, so called leaving, maybe is just Google is pouting.

Comparing to the native Baidu, Google’s performance in the recent years was not outstanding. “The third quarter of 2009, Baidu’s revenue share in China was 63.8% and Google was 32.8%. And at the end of 2008 two companies’ comparable market positions have sharply turned for the first time.” This was not a huge success, but it was definitely not a failure or mediocrity. We must remember, the number of China’s internet users is growing steadily, the internet market is growing, relatively speaking, Google’s performance is still on the rise.

If Google really leaves, it will lose the Chinese market, is it really willing to? I don’t believe the largest multinational corporation would give up the largest market with almost unlimited growth. Will Coca-Cola give up Chinese market? No; will Pepsi-Cola give up the Chinese market? Also No; Will Microsoft abandon the Chinese market? Even more No. So only Google will? I do not believe.

Google is not a child, does whatever it wants to do; Google is not one person’s Google, Google is the capital Google. In order to maximize profits and capital, it will do almost everything, even if they are things it doesn’t want to do. You can already see the reactions after this statement was released by Google: Google fell 1.3% on Tuesday, a 583.05$, they opened at 590.48$”. If the market is not optimistic about the pulling out of China, then Google will not be the one in control anymore.

Begin from last year, Google has been crossing the line on Chinese laws; therefore, Google doesn’t feel so comfortable lately. So it will leave the Chinese market? Perhaps they are thinking too simplistically. If only it can think of ways to adapt to the Chinese market, then their life will be good. Will Google be really emotional and go through with this? Unlikely, it is easy to leave, but it will be very difficult to come back.

Google is not a simple-mined boor; otherwise it would not be here today. Microsoft was being sued left to right in Europe, but it never made a sound. Google does not have the patience like Microsoft? Ha, Google’s exit is only a “contention”, pouting just like a baby! Even if it leaves, it will still leave many things behind, and maybe it will come back very soon.

16 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. Always interesting to hear the diversity of voices (i.e. not just the government position) in China. Thanks for this.

    The second one gave me some laughs. I’ve seen a couple versions of this opinion thus far: ‘The China market is so valuable that no major company could possibly give it up. Thus Google’s statement can’t be taken seriously.’ Where is the traditional Chinese modesty? :-) More seriously, I think we can see this as an issue of Google’s brand image and how it has been tarnished by their association with today’s China.

    Personally, I don’t feel that Google made this decision lightly, as a whim. They’ve pushed the boundaries of their “Don’t be evil” motto for some time in China, at least in public perception. That has damaged their credibility and brand image to some degree. They had their reasons, excuses, market motivations for being here. But now the boundaries have been pushed too far, and they feel their position in China conflicts with their brand. Are they going to ruin their own good name (their brand and company philosophy) merely to pursue China? Wouldn’t that mean they are jeopardizing their position with 6 billion potential customers for the sake of a mere 1.5 billion? Their operations in China are unlikely to pay more in profits than the markets (potential or otherwise) do outside of China.

    I think this argument that “China is a necessity to big corporations” should at least be questioned. The world can say “No.” Doesn’t that sound familiar?

  2. On a completely different matter: why are these postings talking about Google’s current market position (32.8% according to the article above) as if that were a bad thing? Yes, it’s certainly small compared to its commanding lead in some other countries, but given the various strictures, cultural barriers, and various forms of protectionism it has to deal with, I would say that Google has done very well to get even that large a share of the Chinese market.

  3. Avatar says:

    Oh my, the second post is so infantil. It’s pure nonesense in several points. I even don’t feel like discusing such low statements :/

    I’m going to mention Just one thing – information about google withdrawing from China was realeased on wednesday, so Google’s data from tuesday is irrelevant. On top of this, given data has nothing to do with the real one.
    In fact, google did open low on wednesday (information was realised before market opened) but was rising all day to close with just 0,5% of loss, which doesn’t mean anything, especially that in previouse days google was going down as well, and it realised quarterly data on wednesday as well.

    So how can you discuss with such arguments – taken from who knows where?

    When it comes to my opinion – I don’t think google really wants to quit. I would rather say that was their move to fight for less censorship. But still they will pull out if Chinese government will not be willing to talk.

  4. XiaoMa says:

    The 2nd blog is shallow and laughable but I wish it is true that Google will not leave. The 1st blog of course makes more sense but I rather live in denial for now……………

  5. Fred says:

    The second article is really narrow in mind I think.

    Key, you know,ironically and also a coincidence is that several (maybe two days ago)days before,I cite the first article to my Sina blog,and been notified that this aritcle contains come inapporpriate contents that need to be deleated,so it fail to update to open web.

    It is quite common phenomenon here in China,they claim guarantee freedom of speech,but act in such a way.I advocate and stand in Google’s position.Google provide authentic & liable infor with wide diversity,which no other Search engine can comparable.

  6. David says:

    I love the “modern” Chinese mentality. “The China market is so valuable that no major company could possibly give it up.” As a developing country, it will take some time before you realize its not always about money. Morals > Money

    • John says:

      That’s absolutely correct. China is growing. Its growth is strong, and its GDP will grow at triple the rate of the U.S.’s this year.

      But it all means NOTHING if China doesn’t wake up and change its ways. China needs to correct its ways, in the areas of corruption, both in government and business, pollution, human rights, lack of liberty. Those things are the essence of life.

      China will never rise up unless it cleans itself up. Due to China’s recent economic growth, many Chinese have developed a sort of hubristic view of the world. They refuse to believe that 5,000 years of history might possibly come to a complete stop due to the evils of the items previously mentioned.

      Was acting as the sweat shop and supplying the western world with trinkets and shit for the past 40 years worth watching your country become a giant sewage dump for? Is it okay for the government to tell you what to think, what to do, how to act? Is it okay for the government to spy on everything you do?

      Frankly, Google should have never started up in China at all. They should have said no, not under the current conditions.

      Wake up, China. It’s now or never.

      • Fred says:

        Wonderful and insightful perspection

      • Adrealist says:

        Isn’t it better that Google start up in China as now they have a chance to make a statement that will be heard? When we see the freedoms of a people being suppressed then every country in the world needs to speak up. Have every other international company make threats of leaving and begin to step on the toes of Chinese officials. Every Coca-cola bottle now comes wrapped with a 5 paged newspaper of material that is otherwise censored. Is the government going to kick them all out?
        No matter what nationality we are – it is not our charity to help the people make their stand, it is our responsibility.
        Corruption and dictatorial leaders can only exist due to the apathy of others.

  7. rawwwwwww says:

    JOHN JOHN is absolutely RIGHT

    Google should really withdrawn from China with the exception of Hong Kong. Baidu is whipping them out there. China will always be China. Straight uglyness, curruptions, and double standards. I think Google should really keep their word this time around and close up shop. Who cares about the 1.3 billion people. About 1.2 billion and 9 to the 10th of them are broke. People keep hyping their economy and their GDP rate. Chinky please, they solely rely on U.S. no matter how much they grow. U.S. buy everything made in China and give them business. On another note, they are about to build their first aircraft carrier? watch them crash that dammm thing.

  8. rawwwwwww says:

    LET ME ADD ON MORE STUFF ON MY MIND> CHINA IS SO STUFFY
    PEDESTRIANS AND MOTORISTS ALIKE NEEDS TO OBEY TRAFFIC AND LEARN how to drive and driving REGULATIONS IN THEIR DAILY LIVES BEFORE THEY EVEN BOTHER TRYING TO REGULATE OTHER THINGS SUCH AS THE INTERNET>SO MUCH DAMM PEOPLE OUT THERETHEY HAVE NO CARE IN THE ENVIRONMENT< NO CARE FOR ANIMALS< EATING ANYTHING ON FOUR LEGS<yes im takling about crocodiles too, i saw it myself NO I AM NOT DISCRIMINATING AS I AM A CHINESE MYSELF< BUT I AM HEATED IN THEIR STUBBORNESS< I GOT COUSINS THAT JUST IMMIGRATED TO THE STATES AND WHENEVER WE HOLD A CONVERSATION THEY ALWAYS THINK THEY KNOW IT ALL< WHAT ABOUT THE UNDERAGE DRINKING LAW IN CHINA? the convenience store owners sell a kid anything as long as they hand over some RMB. arrrrrr CHINAMANS

  9. rawwwwwww says:

    google needs to be like costco, pull COca cola off their shelves when they start acting goofy, say it and DO IT

  10. knulp says:

    it would be interesting to see how far can google push this situation. i see some interesting points emerging:
    -will google show that the chinese market is not essential? if they could this might set a change in many company and people’s mind.
    -if google withdraws the true loosers will be chinese people that use internet and might see the quality of the service drop. competition is also a good thing
    – i hope all china’s daily writers are not so bad

  11. XiaoWang says:

    People’s Daily haha. That tard is writing nothing about WHY Google is considering leaving China. The only hint there is is the line “Begin from last year, Google has been crossing the line on Chinese laws”. This insinuates that Google is breaking corporate/antitrust laws since the article has talked nothing but business untill then. Furthermore he is a complete fraud since he relates Google to Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Oddly enough I haven’t seen the government repeatedly scrutinizing those companies, telling them how to do things, threathening to shut them down if they don’t get in line and so on and so forth. It’s softdrinks for God’s sake,, NOT as in Google’s case about some fundamental principles.

    And yes Knulp. People’s Daily really is that bad. It’s biased to the extreme, censored and dictated from the CCP. Basically it’s FOX news if it was run by the NRA and Rush Limbaugh. Nah,, that’s not even fair to FOX. Btw,, nobody reads People’s Daily of the younger generation.

  12. ARedHeart says:

    from the day when i saw the great 2009 National Day Parade on TV, am more and more confident about the arriving of the little red book from our Great Leader. am counting the minutes…

  13. Carl says:

    Wow.. all the “anti-chinese” sentiment.

    But the second article really was bad, it sounded like being written by a esl student somewhere, but that’s exactly what the problem is, it’s translated. Translate that same first article into Chinese and the Chinese will probably laugh about it too.

    Otherwise the points made in both articles are pretty much common knowledge by now, i will not discuss it here.

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