• http://twitter.com/MichelleObama7 Clifford Bryan

    Andrew McLaughlin is a sharp guy, no doubt about that. He had a good handle on the Google-China situation as far back as http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/google-in-china.html when Google.cn was rolled out. I hope he has been keeping up with energy policy.

    Google made a good opening move. Suggesting they would pull the plug on Google.cn. This shows good synergy with U.S. foreign policy. When combined with the U.S.’s current stance on Iran, it applies “good pressure” on China.

    Twitter, Iran, Google, China, U.S.= That’s the players
    The U.S. wants China to come closer to agreeing with sanctions on Iran. One problem. It’s huge. The Chinese rely on Iran for 15% of their oil imports. State-run Chinese oil firms are now thought to have deals worth over $100 billion with Iran. Turning off Iran’s oil(money) supply is a touchy subject that hits close to home.

    On the other hand things have been going to great for China. If Goolge pulls the plug so to speak, they would be looking at the type of civilian unrest that occurred in Iran.

    This one will take some time. Google is looking good right now on several levels. Human rights, censorship, …….

  • http://ggtheory.com GE.GAO

    Is censorship “evil”? Yes.
    Is it REALLY REALLY “evil”? Huhh, let me think about it.

    Censorship literally exists almost everywhere on planet earth. Are you talking about Hitler, pedophilia, or Tiananmen Square? And what difference does it make here?
    China’s censorship is generally regarded as an evil thing because International (read, Western) opinions only cares about the “hidden truth” they care about. It is always easier to take sides instead of thinking.

    If Google decides to leave China, this is a sad thing. I respect Google’s courage for keeping its mantra but not necessarily agree with its reasoning. Google’s retreat tells one story and one story only: Google is an American company and will always be.

    I honestly don’t think the absence of Google will bring a lot of harm to either China government or Chinese people. Face it, laymen doesn’t care about Google or censorship; elites who whines about Google’s leave are most likely to have access around Great Fire Wall. So, what changes after Google leave? Oh yes, Baidu will take over Google’s market share and ads revenue, but that is going to happen anyway…

  • seoftw

    It’s a calculated risk. Everyone keeps harping on the “biggest market in the world” bit, but if you look at the actual dollar figures, they suck. 300 million users and search is only a billion dollar industry? Why bother competing against Baidu’s government guanxi and total lack of morals, state sponsored hacking of your systems for anti-humanitarian and IP theft reasons, AND have to account for a government trying to whitewash their history for a tiny fraction of your bottom line revenue? Even with optimistic growth projections for China, it’s way more hassle than it’s worth. Better to just check out entirely and wait a decade or two for the government to resolve their insecurity issues.

  • http://ggtheory.com GE.GAO

    Measuring value of the whole market is not as relevant when it comes to the specific business you are running. It is what you CAN get that matters.

    A Chinese client that I used to manage has quadrupled their search spending in the past 2+ years with an improved ROI target. Half a million US$ monthly spending is certainly not a monster when comparing to US clients, but that is not bad either. And it is still growing like crazy.

    But then Internet business relies so much on localization. Ebay failed, Expedia failed, Amazon failed, Newegg failed. Google is probably the only successful foreign player in China’s market, even though it is also taking some serious beat from Baidu. You don’t go into this market because it is huge or has a lot of potential, which probably has nothing to do with you. You think you have money? Chinese has more cash. You think you got a great brand? Sorry Chinese don’t know about brand. You think you have great technology? Well, that might be a good point, but then is it really useful in the market? Plus there are tons of brilliant young engineers in China and they are cheap. You see, even a vocational school who trains cooks and mechanics is able to initiate an attack on Gmail. Okay, that is a joke.

    So my whole point is: if you are not ready to be localized, you don’t have a chance in China. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t get it.