(Through Rose-Coloured Glasses)
Google is out of China.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, cofounder of Google Sergey Brin explained how the situation in China reminded him of his family while in Russia, how the police visited his father, who was a target of anti-Semitism. Mr. Brin said those memories bolstered his opinions on Google’s operations in China. He cited China’s Web censorship and meddling in the company’s affairs, adding that the cyberattack cited by Google was “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Actually, in my opinion, 點只檢禁咁簡單
Most importantly, China regarded Information as Knowledge, that will breed Idea, and hence spur Action. Certain information in the wrong hands is just asking for trouble. China’s propaganda machine is tightly controlled and monitored. Its national media doses out only politically correct (read party-line) information that is advantageous to their government. That’s how they ruled for the past 60 years. Unfortunately Google Inc is dealing with the same commodity, and also doing it better and on a massive scale.
In the short history of Google Inc, it has amassed tons of information, that can make any corporation and country salivate. Who can access and control those data become important security and privacy issues. Knowing what people are thinking and doing is the flip side of censorship. Google needs to safe-guard its technological knowhow and trade secrets. Meddling and hacking are warning signals. If you are not careful, the recent case of the Australian tin company Rio Tinto is a sharp reminder. This is obviously in the mind of every China trader.
So the clash of the Titans is inevitable.
But why quit now? Isn’t all capitalist businesses have only one aim, i.e. to make money. China is a vast market with huge potential, why the retreat?
As it was, China accounted for only a small fraction of Google’s US$24 billion in annual revenue. Analysts estimate Google brought in $250 million to $600 million from China (It’s unclear how much of that amount flowed exclusively from Google.cn). In the Chinese market, no matter how hard Google competes, it will always be a poor second to Baidu. It is better to concentrate its effort on the rest of the world. Further due to the very restrictive nature of tight control and censorship of all the Chinese search engines, they will never be able to attain the status of serious competitor at the world stage.
Google moves to the little island of Hong Kong.