Surprise, surprise! No one here on Lunch writing a review on Google after such a big piece of news hits the market?!
Let’s face it, Google challenging China on its censorship policy… is that really a wise move?
A company flexing its muscle while trying to operate in a foreign environment?
I don’t know about you, perhaps freedom of speech
is of utmost importance to the Americans. We know all about Americans and western world’s ideal of human rights & freedom (although plenty of times it’s been known that governments do look away when it’s not convenient to do so; as with the Cambodia & Bosnia cases).
A case of Government vs Business: They don’t mix.
One is operating within another. Without a country, a business will not thrive. IMHO, politics and business do not mix. Laws are regulations made not for business but for the smooth functioning of a country. It’s a framework, it will not changed because of a foreign institution. It might one day change when its people feels it is time to (& normally it will come after a revolution; in this case, I don't see the Chinese people heading that direction!). It is not that the Chinese do not have freedom of speech at all (as some media may try to portray), it is a case of responsible speech that is required of each individual, as with the case in Singapore too.
Google wishes to challenge that framework will result in it at the losing end of the deal. It’s a case of winning the battle but losing the war. Leaving China will not improve human rights in China (If that is indeed what it is all about! ;-)). At least if it had stayed, it would have improve its bargaining power over time.
For now, from history, the Chinese government has never bowed to external pressure, not from other countries, let alone from a business entity! The only time it did was the Opium War which resulting in giving up Hong Kong & Macau for a century. That is a lesson the Chinese has learned well! I would predict that for the Chinese government, It shall be a case of out of sight, out of mind where Google.cn
A negative move for Google.cn
. Positive result for Baidu.com
(the main Chinese search engine which has the largest percentage of internet users to begin with).
Don’t get me wrong. I love Google as a search engine (as with Chrome, Gmail, Picasa & all thing Google); although I should qualify by saying I use only the English version of Google search.
What we are seeing here is not that you can’t access Google.com
from China. Granted, China blocks site like YouTube & FaceBook but other than that, many sites I visited can be accessed from within China. What it means is that if Google leave China, that translates to Google.cn
not in operation.
One can still access everything in English on Google.com
, just not Google.cn
simply because Google leaving means Google is giving up its Chinese search engine. I personally do not think China loses much at all. Baidu.com
is as good if not a better Chinese search engine!
Google has a lot to lose! For the Chinese users, some might even see it as a lack of fighting spirit as it’s only after Google has been hacked that it is talking about leaving! In other words, is Google not even good enough to safeguard its own system?!?!?! Afterall, China is not the first or only government to filter into another country’s system (for spying or whatever purposes). American government does that all the time! I don’t have to know that for a fact, it’s all over Hollywood movies! ;-) In any case, can you really trust what the media is telling you? Or companies? Or governments? Granted, some, but not all & everything!
Everyone has his/her agenda in life; as with a country & a company. There are more than what meets the eyes as far as I can tell. One thing though, Google is not that profitable in China. That is a fact. It might just be a business decision for all we know! Or there might be further developments from here…
From the financial perspective, I wonder how Google shareholders will react to this piece of news? And what about its Nexus One sale & all other androids sale in future? Does Google really intend to lose its market share which it had spent time cultivating simply as a defiant act? Makes me wonder what is really happening here! Anyone can shed some light?