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  • Gerrit Eicker 15:05 on 9. July 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Google.cn, , , ICP License, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Google China II. 

    Google: We are very pleased that the [Chinese] government has renewed our ICP license; http://j.mp/bLFs1B

    • Gerrit Eicker 15:08 on 9. July 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Google: “We are very pleased that the government has renewed our ICP license and we look forward to continuing to provide web search and local products to our users in China.”

      NYT: “The renewal allows Google to continue offering limited services in China and to direct users to the company’s uncensored Hong Kong-based Chinese language search engine, google.com.hk. Hong Kong, a former British colony that is now a special administrative region of China, is governed separately from the mainland. … But Beijing has also signaled its determination to monitor Google. In a media report released on June 30 by Xinhua News, China’s official news agency, a government official said that the local company running Google’s Chinese Web site had pledged to ‘abide by the Chinese law,’ when it submitted its renewal application.”

      TC: “Google told Reuters on Friday that Beijing had indeed renewed the license, thus averting a potential shutdown of its search page in the fast-growing Internet market, the world’s biggest with over 400 million estimated users. – The renewal of the license had been in doubt due to the tension between Google and Chinese authorities over alleged hacking of Gmail accounts and censorship of Google search results.”

      Guardian: “Google is due to report its second-quarter financial results next week. Google’s search business in China accounts for a tiny slice of the company’s £15.82bn in annual revenue. Analysts’ estimates of Google’s annual revenues in China range from $300m to $600m, but long-term growth prospects are key. – There was no immediate word from China’s Information Ministry about the renewal.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:59 on 24. March 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Google.cn, , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Google Closes Google.cn 

    Google closes Google.cn, offers uncensored search via Hongkong, and: is disappointed about others; http://j.mp/9KscVk

    • Gerrit Eicker 09:12 on 24. March 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Google: “We stopped censoring our search services – Google Search, Google News, and Google Images – on Google.cn. Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong. Users in Hong Kong will continue to receive their existing uncensored, traditional Chinese service, also from Google.com.hk. Due to the increased load on our Hong Kong servers and the complicated nature of these changes, users may see some slowdown in service or find some products temporarily inaccessible as we switch everything over.”

      NYT: “While the decision to route mainland Chinese users to Hong Kong is an attempt by Google to skirt censorship requirements without running afoul of Chinese laws, it appears to have angered officials in China, setting the stage for a possible escalation of the conflict, which may include blocking the Hong Kong search service in mainland China.”

      VB: “It’s a surreal idea – the world’s best-known Internet company facing off with the government of the world’s most populous nation. It’s a company versus an entire state. … In any case, it’s a bittersweet day for employees, who say they’re proud to see it take a stand, but sad to potentially walk away from a market that the company had invested so many resources in, according to a half-dozen we spoke to based in the U.S. and China. … Whatever comes out of the matter, the last few months have made it clear that that web may become increasingly siloed for political ends. Iran’s telecommunications agency said in February that it would permanently suspend Gmail and roll out its own state e-mail service instead.”

      RWW: “One future scenario that could unfold is that China could block access for its citizens to the Google Hong Kong site and Google could call on the US government for assistance. The US government may or may not be interested in intervening.

      CPJ: “‘We welcome this stand against censorship and hope that all Internet companies operating in China take a similar principled position,’ said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. ‘Many of the Web sites censored by the Chinese government are news and social networking Web sites, with a wide range of topics blocked from general discussion. Google’s decision to stop censoring search results will put Google on the wrong side of the Great Firewall. In the long run, however, we hope that it ramps up pressure on the Chinese government to allow its citizens to access the news and information they need to be informed and engaged citizens.'”

      TC: “China is now censoring some search queries itself. A Google spokesperson confirms to us ‘it seems that certain sensitive queries are being blocked. However, the Google.com.hk site is not currently being blocked.’ Checks with contacts inside China also confirm that the Hong Kong site remains accessible.”

      NYT: “Google, the world’s largest Internet company, once viewed China, the world’s largest Internet market, as a bottomless well of opportunity with nearly 400 million Web users, and an even larger number of potential customers for its nascent, but vital, mobile phone business. – But by directing search users in China to its uncensored search engine based in Hong Kong, Google may have jeopardized its long-range plans.”

      Sullivan/SEL: “Apparently, Google’s Sergey Brin now believes that the US government should make fighting Chinese censorship a high priority, is disappointed with Microsoft for continuing to censor and is surprised that some question Google’s sudden U-turn in China. I’d say Google needs to get a little time under its belt being outside of China and setting a true example for others to follow, if it really wants to be taken seriously and demonstrate leadership.

      Guardian: “Brin saved his strongest criticisms for Microsoft, which he said had capitulated to the Chinese government and trampled over human rights merely in an attempt to score points over Google. – ‘I’m very disappointed for them in particular,’ he said. ‘As I understand, they have effectively no market share – so they essentially spoke against freedom of speech and human rights simply in order to contradict Google.’ – He was referring to comments by Microsoft chairman and co-founder Bill Gates, who told American TV – shortly after the revelations that Google had been attacked by hackers based in China – that Beijing’s censorship was ‘very limited’.”

      AdAge: “The business world is moving against China. All the press about Google’s departure isn’t helping. The Chinese government may or may not be hacking into our so-called private lives. Google is providing a politically correct way for anyone that desires a way out of China and a potential way in for opportunists. – Is it the perfect public relations spin or a legitimate way out? … Is Google’s departure from China really based entirely on human rights? Or is it a really convenient way to cut loose from a lackluster revenue-generating environment? Maybe it’s both. In either case, would you blame them?”

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:25 on 13. January 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , Google China, Google.cn, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Google China 

    Google: We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn; http://j.mp/4W6zxe

    • Gerrit Eicker 09:43 on 13. January 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Google: “We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China. – The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.”

      Jarvis: “I am astounded and delighted at the news that Google is no longer comfortable censoring search results at the call of the Chinese government and is threatening to pull out of the market. … Will the Chinese people revolt at losing Google? We can only hope. Will other companies now have to hesitate before doing the dictators’ bidding? We can only hope. Will Google be punished by Wall Street? It probably will. But as I’ve argued, we should hope that Google’s pledge, Don’t be evil, will one day be chiseled over the doors of Wall Street.”

      NYT: “While Google’s business in China is now small, analysts say that the country could soon become one of the most lucrative Internet and mobile markets, and a withdrawal would significantly reduce Google’s long-term growth. … Google’s announcement Tuesday drew praise from free speech and human rights advocates, many of whom had criticized the company in the past over its decision to enter the Chinese market despite censorship requirements. … Some company executives suggested then that the campaign was a concerted effort to stain Google’s image. Since its entry into China, the company has steadily lost market share to Baidu.

      WSJ: “Google’s statement was hotly debated within the senior ranks of the company, according to two people familiar with the matter. Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt was concerned about the potential backlash, but operating in China has been a concern of Google co-founder Sergey Brin in particular, these people said.”

      SEL: “So one issue Google now faces is why it will now fight Chinese censorship but not censorship in other countries. The answer is likely that Google will seek to curb the widespread censorship that China demands especially on political discourse. That such widespread censorship, even though legal in China, is simply too restrictive and unreasonable for Google to operate under. – Google has diligently worked to build marketshare in China over the years, one of the few countries where it is not the dominant player. When it failed to censor, it found itself losing traffic due to government blocking to the leading player there, Baidu. The ability for people to find music, not always legally, in Baidu also has contributed.”

      RWW: “What Took So Long? – Curt Hopkins, founder of the Commmittee to Protect Bloggers, responded with a similar point of view, saying, ‘Given that not just Google but every single other American tech company has shat themselves to get at the mythological Chinese market, this is way too long in coming.'”

      TC: “I’ll give Google this much: They’re taking a bad situation and making something good out of it, both from a human and business point of view. I’m not saying human rights didn’t play into the decision, but this was as much about business. Lest we get too self-righteous as Westerners, we should remember three things: 1. Google’s business was not doing well in China. … 2. Google is ready to burn bridges. … 3. This is only going to be a trickier issue in the next decade. … This may be the most shocking part: In retrospect Yahoo has played China far better than Google. It pulled out of the country years ago, knowing it wouldn’t win and owns nearly 40% of the Alibaba, a company that very definitely knows how to grow in China. Entrepreneur and angel investor in China Bill Bishop – who hasn’t always agreed with my China coverage in the past – pointed this out, adding ‘Not often Yahoo looks smarter than Google.’”

      Scoble: “Google has EVERY INCENTIVE to kiss Chinese ass. That’s why this move today impressed me so much. … It doesn’t matter to me that Google played footsie up until today, either. They were the first to stop playing footsie and THAT deserves a HUGE round of applause.”

      Hall: “As I’ve written before on this blog, this is a defining moral issue of our time if you’re a technologist, tech writer, or member in some other way of this community. I love to see the world in grays, but this is one of those issues that is purely black and white. And if you in any way side with China, or advocate a position that excuses their behavior – well, I think that’s just utterly immoral and you should be ashamed.

      Guardian: “Google has stood up to the most extreme form of cyberbullying and said: no more. This matters more because it is putting western companies and governments on notice that it is now OK to say China is a bad neighbour on the internet. Besides tolerating commercial espionage via hacking, it also allows the hosting of thousands of sites that help spammers rip people off around the world. It allows the theft of intellectual property (the complaint of Cybersitter being only the most recent). It may lead to a new maturity. China’s government has been put on notice that it cannot do as it likes.”

    • Gerrit Eicker 17:40 on 13. January 2010 Permalink | Reply

      CNN: “Within hours of Google’s announcement that it was no longer willing to self-censor in China, Google.cn was retrieving results for sensitive topics including the 1989 crackdown at Tiananmen Square, the Dalai Lama and the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.”

    • Gerrit Eicker 08:30 on 14. January 2010 Permalink | Reply

      TC: “Taking a moral position four years too late – whether you’re the first or the last to do so – is like suddenly declaring that you oppose the Iraq war now you’re no longer standing for the Senate or renouncing your own steroid abuse once you’ve retired from professional sports. Which is to say, it’s taking no moral position at all.”

      WP: “GOOD FOR Google. The company’s decision to stop censoring its Chinese search engine is more likely to mean the end of its China-based service than a breakdown of Beijing’s political firewall. But more important than the question of whether Google.cn survives is the larger issue that Google has now raised for other Western companies and democratic governments – which is whether China’s gross and growing abuse of the Internet should be quietly tolerated or actively resisted. … Google’s action also challenges the Obama administration, which has been slow to embrace the cause of Internet freedom. The restrictions the Chinese government imposes on Google and other firms ought to be a trade issue as well as a human rights issue…”

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