SUBJECT: Google in China
Given the guidelines and requirements on self censorship imposed by the Chinese Communist Party on local internet service providers, it is my recommendation that before Google develops businesses under such requirements it has a clear understanding on the role and impact its services will play in peoples lives under these circumstances to avoid being used unintentionally as a political tool. Services provided by Google, such as blogs and email accounts, which are knowingly used by the Chinese Communist Party to violate privacy rights and unjustly persecute and imprison individuals should not be provided. Google should provide and promote services, such as its search engine, which will benefit people and maximize shareholders value even if limited in scope and function.
Google’s decision to remain or leave China should be based on a compelling business case and not political pressure. From a business perspective China is the worlds largest market with more than 330 million people online. Despite Google’s 35.6% market share in 2010, behind the market leader Baidu with 58.4%, Google has steadily gain market share since 2006. Google’s growth in market share indicates more Chinese people are switching to Google services and search engine even in its limited censored format.
I strongly agree with Google’s senior policy counsel Andrew McLaughlin who states that even though self-censorship is inconsistent with Google’s core mission, providing no information is more inconsistent with that mission and further impacts negatively the Chinese consumer. By Google providing a limited censored local search engine service to the Chinese people it will not only gain market share and maximize its value as a corporation, as the trend in market share indicates, but also will provide freedom of choice on those services to the Chinese public, pulling out of China will curtail that freedom.
Along with Google’s Chinese market share growth so...
References: -K. Wilson, Y. Ramos, D. Harvey, W. Norman, C. MacDonald, “Google in China The Great Firewall”, The Kenan Institute For Ethics at Duke University
-B. Einhorn, Jan 13, 2010: “In China, Google Declares War”, Bloomberg Businessweek – Global Economics
-M. Friedman, Sept 13, 1970: “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits ”, The New York Times Magazine
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