Google in China

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Where is the company most vulnerable,
from a communications standpoint?

Google entered China in 2006 with high hopes of taking over the Chinese internet market. In order to become a major player for internet search engines in China, however, they had buckled and filtered search results according to the Chinese government. When was launched, a loud public outcry over its giving in to the Chinese government on censoring and filtering search engine results, the company faced a communications crisis. Since Google had always been known for its free thinking, this seemed a vast contradiction. From a communications standpoint, Google’s greatest vulnerability in this crisis lay with a tarnished public image.

Since the company’s inception, Google had enjoyed a reputation for ingenuity and creativity. Google had changed the way people use and search on the internet that was free from pop up advertisements and organized information. They promoted different and radical ideas for development in the workplace to foster the creative atmosphere at the Googleplex in California. The corporate public image is “the sum total of perceptions of the corporations personality characteristics.” (Spector, 1961 p. 47) Google’s had an outstand public image evidenced by the fact that it was one of the most popular search engines in the world.

When Google decided to enter the Chinese market, the company was forced by the Chinese government to impose self-censorship if they were to operate within the boundaries of China. Though executives disagreed with censoring, they “grudgingly agreed that this is the ethical price they have to pay to place servers in mainland China.” (2006 Jan) If an internet search engine did not filter search results, the government would use its own, which highly slowed down the rate at which the servers could process the request. “The filtered results would remove any reference to a number of subjects.” This policy in China did not...
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