The China Business News is reporting that Google will go through with a threatened withdrawal from China on April 10.
Before we get into the speculation and breaking news report, you need to understand the history between Google and the Chinese government. Late last year, a group that supposedly had ties to the Chinese government hacked into Google’s computer network. It compromised the data security and the identity of its users. Google claimed that the targeted Gmail accounts belonged to Chinese human rights activists. Google announced the security breach, intent to not filter content anymore, and its’ reconsideration on whether or not to do business with China at all on Jan. 12, 2010. Aside from this incident Google has made it abundantly clear that they want to offer an uncensored search engine. So far, Google has abided by Chinese law and offered filtered search results via – Google.cn.
The above has resulted in months of news reports about secret talks between Chinese regulators and Google officials to resolve the issue. Finally, at the beginning of March 2010 we got confirmation that the two were talking, but it wasn’t hopeful news. Google President Eric Schmidt said that he hoped to soon announce the results of talks about offering an uncensored engine with the Chinese government. The man had hardly gotten the words out of his mouth when China’s top internet regulator made a public announcement that Google would only be welcomed in China if Google abides by its censorship laws. When China’s Minister of Industry and Information was asked what China would do if Google simply stops filtering search results, he said, “If you don’t respect Chinese laws, you are unfriendly and irresponsible, and the consequences will be on you.”
It is ironic that this is all coming to a head now. In the last year, Google has put forth serious efforts in China via Google.cn, and has become the number two search engine in the country…only behind Baidu, a Chinese owned search engine. Bing, MSN and Yahoo together only make up 2% of the Chinese market. So, Google has made serious strides and has cemented itself as a product that local Chinese consumers embrace and feel they can rely upon. Baidu would be a big gainer if Google does in fact pull out, as it would take years, if ever, for Bing, MSN, or Yahoo to build a threatening Chinese brand.
After months of speculation – will Google leave China???…. The China Business News is reporting that Google will go through with a threatened withdrawal from China on April 10. The source of this report is a Chinese advertising agency that is partnered with Google. Google has not made any announcement to confirm or deny the report or the future of Google.cn to date. However, it is quite clear that the Chinese government is not going to cede on censorship; that leaves Google to continue filtering content or pack their bags for friendlier cyber waters.