Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as “a superior search-engine technology to find and organize information on the Web” (Quelch, 1). Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” (Quelch, 1). Google prides itself in providing search results in order of relevance and not paid sponsorship and identifies “paid advertising links as sponsored” (Quelch, 2). However, Google’s main revenue sources are its two advertising products; Adwords and Adsense. In addition to all of its Google products, Google has gone mobile with its smart phones.
Google entered the Chinese market in 2000, with a Chinese-language version of Google.com. In 2006, it developed Google.cn, its China-based website. China’s major competitor in China was Baidu. Baidu, a Chinese-owned search-engine company, also gained revenue from ad sales. Google’s China entry required it to overcome cultural barriers, especially with the Chinese government. For example, Google’s first government relations point person in China was fired because she gave ipods to Chinese officials, a common practice in business negotiations in China, but it violates the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (Levy). However, In June 2009, of the 338 million Chinese Internet users, 24% of them used Google. As Google’s presence in China continued to grow, it approached another obstacle when China’s censorship policy was not consistent with Google’s unwillingness to tolerate censorship (Quelch, 3). Statement issued by Google on January 12, 2010
In January 2010, Google detected highly sophisticated attacks originating from China on its computer systems and those of other companies. The main objective of the hackers’ attack was to “access email accounts of Chinese human rights activist” (Quelch, 1). In addition, the Chinese government had continued to try and limit free speech on the web. Google, a company that promotes free speech and whose core principle is “Do no evil”, issued a statement of January 12th, because it was fed up with the restrictions in China. Google stated that “it was no longer willing to censor search results and would initiation discussion with teh chinese government to operate Google.cn without censorship; it would exit China if its conditions were not met” (Quelch, 1). Google’s Decision to Close Google.cn
In January 2006, Google launched its China-based search engine Google.cn “in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open internet outweighed [its] discomfort in agreeing to censor some results” (Exhibit 1). By 2010, however, the company feared stringent censorship by the Chinese government and incidences of account infiltration conflicted too heavily with Google’s core principles of transparency and neutrality. In an effort to skirt these restrictions, Google “closed its Internet search service there and began directing users in [China] to its uncensored search engine in Hong Kong” (Barboza).
Both proponents and critics of Google’s decision infiltrated the media. Some considered the company’s decision to draw a line as a realignment of the Google name with its ethos and “an audacious and difficult step for Internet freedom in support of fundamental human rights” (Quelch, Jocz 5). On the other hand, others feared the move, considered a clear violation of Google’s written promise to the Chinese government, would affect the broader context of the U.S.-China relationship. The most overwhelming concern, however, is that “Google, a global technology powerhouse,…essentially turn[ed] its back on the world’s largest Internet market, with nearly 400 million Web users” (Barboza). Subsequent discussions with the Chinese government proved fruitless as the topic of self-censorship became “a nonnegotiable legal requirement” (Barboza). Xiao Qiang of the China Internet project at the University of California, Berkeley considers the...
Cited: • "Google Agrees to Censor Results in China." Msnbc.com. N.p., 25 Jan. 2006. Web. 01 Oct. 2013.
• Helft, Miguel, and David Barboza. "Google Shuts China Site in Dispute Over Censorship." n. page. Web. 2 Oct. 2013.
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