Following the demise of Google’s search engine in China, the world’s largest search engine attempted to circumvent censorship by rerouting Mainland users to its servers in Hong Kong. This unorthodox move sparked backlash from the State Council Information office, citing the move as “totally wrong” and “violating the written promise it made on entering the Chinese market.” This issue further aggravates relations between China and the United States, with the White House expressing its disappointment at the lack of a resolution.
Google plunged into the Chinese market in 2006, promising to comply with strict Chinese censorship laws. It is no secret China operates one of the most sophisticated and wide-reaching censorship systems in the world, stressing the importance of foreign companies to abide by their legislation. Google’s move represents a powerful rejection of Beijing’s censorship but also a risky ploy in which Google, a global technology powerhouse, will essentially turn its back on the world’s largest Internet market, with nearly 400 million Web users.
Accounting for 1 – 2% of Google’s total revenue of $24 billion, it is unlikely the closure of Google China would affect their growth prospects in the near future. Google also states that it plans to continue its research and development work there as well as maintain their sales staff there.
China Shuts China Site in Dispute Over Censorship [The New York Times, 22 Mar 2010]
Google Stops Censoring Search Results in China [BBC News Online, 23 Mar 2010]
China Says Google "Totally Wrong" to Stop Web Censorship [Channel News Asia, 23 Mar 2010]