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…
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.
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.