Google nixes China search site; Sales and R&D to stay

Google nixes China search site; Sales and R&D to stay

Summary: Google said it has redirected it's Chinese site to its uncensored Hong Kong site but will stay in China for sales and R&D purposes.

TOPICS: China, Browser, Google

Special Report: Google-China

Updated: In a business and diplomatic showdown with China, Google has found a way to stop censoring its search results yet keep a presence in the country.

Google said Monday that it has stopped censoring its search services - Search, News and Images - on, its site in China, and that users are now being redirected to, its Hong Kong site, where it is "offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong."

It's unclear, however, how long any Web surfers in China will have access to uncensored results. And Google has already warned that increased traffic could result in a slowdown or even no access as the switchover occurs.

The company said in a blog post that making good on its promise to stop censoring search on has been tough. In that post, the company explained that it sees the switch to the Hong King site as a legal way of increasing access to information for the people in China. However, the company noted that the Chinese government could block access at any time.

From the post:

We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement. We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from is a sensible solution to the challenges we've faced—it's entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China. We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services. We will therefore be carefully monitoring access issues, and have created this new web page, which we will update regularly each day, so that everyone can see which Google services are available in China.

It's not a full pull-out of China for Google, though. The company said it will continue R&D work in China and maintain a sales presence, though the size of the team would be depend on whether government officials allowed access to the Hong Kong site. It also stressed that all decisions about Google and China were those of executives in the U.S. and had nothing to do with employees of the company in China.

Also: Ed Burnette: Why Google should stay in China

Special Report: Google, China showdown

Analysts were handicapping Google's potential shutdown of the site ahead of the announcement. Jefferies analyst Youssef Squali said that a full exit would have no short-term impact on Google's financial results. The long-term strategic hit, however, could hurt.

Squali said that China accounts for $250 million to $350 million, or 1 to 2 percent of Google's net revenue. In the long-run, China has the world's largest Internet user base at about 400 million.

Meanwhile, Squali added that China wasn't going to change its policies for Google. Overall, it's unclear whether China will allow to be visible in the country.

For now, Google has a dashboard detailing its services in China---the list is subject to change.

The history:

Topics: China, Browser, Google

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I can't imagine China will aloow it for long.

    I am also surprised they are allowing Google to continue with other operations in China. My bet is that as soon as they see Google trying to side step them everything gets much worse.
    • Ironically... there's no way China could block it...

      ...without problems with its stakeholders.

      For one, they can camouflage their censorship as a form of "child protection against porn" or other euphemism, we all know is fake. (Its like calling "Prisoners-of-War", "Enemy Combatants" to avoid Geneva or disguise censorship as "Export control" done by you know who).

      But blocking a foreign site, just for being open is clear censorship which, as I see it, won't be tolerated by the U.S.A. or the E.U. which, let's face it, are the main drivers for China's ascent.

      Don't be fooled, China wants to be a superpower but is too rookie and too centrally directed to be able to achieve it without a mayor shake up. (Just remember that the U.S.S.R. [far greater and more powerful] thought differently and eventually collapsed by its own Perestroika).
      • enemy combatents

        Your analogy is flawed.

        Prisoners of War, as defined by article 4 of the geneva conventions are;

        (a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;

        (b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;

        (c) That of carrying arms openly;

        (d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

        Enemy combatants violate at least section b of article 4 of the convention and are therefore not subject to the protections of the convention regarding prisoners of war.

        Traditionally those caught carrying arms without a proper uniform are executed as spies. That we have refrained from doing so with those we capture is a sign of our restraint, and respect for life. Our enemies have no such restraint or respect.
        • A very civilized measured response..

          You're not so "radical" Yellow Duck!

          I totally agree, as well!
      • Are you serious?

        The Chinese government is famous for human rights and censorship issues. Yet, the US and China's other trading partners, ignore those conflicts so that their businesses can gain access to the Chinese economy and increase their respective GNP's.

        Oh yes, every now and then, to appease human rights groups, the world governments affirm their commitment to encourage change in China. However, it's fairly obvious that China's trading partners will not jeopardize their business relationships by speaking too forcefully.

        I don't get the comparison between Perestroika and China's Economic Reform; the two movements are fundamentally different. China's central direction is the precise reason why it is prospering right now. The government is able to push economic reforms to the point where China IS an economic world power. The GDP per capita is still not at US levels, but China is on track for continued growth to get there.

        China is the country with the greatest potential for growth, and every company, including Google, will do whatever it takes to get a piece of the action. Hence, the move.
        • Chinese Economy

          It is like the argument about benevolent dictatorship. A really intelligent central control may consistently outpace a free enterprise culture where there is a lot of waste due to competition. However, if the central direction does not remain intelligent, the progress may be slowed.

          The Soviet system was centrally directed, and I don't think that consistently worked well.

          It did occur to me that if they had not killed a lot of the most intelligent and educated people during the cultural revolution, their progress might be even faster, or have started sooner.
          • USSR vs China

            The USSR collapsed because it ran out of money.
            Nobody would trade with the USSR. Everybody trades with China.

            The Chinese Government was smart enough to make their country, the "World's Factory". Aided by corrupt businesses & politicians, who allowed all of our factories to close, because of their commitment to "Free Trade".

          • Corruption is symptomatic of...

            the psychopaths in business and politics. This is NOT JUST about the
            serial killers, career criminals (in prison), or abusers of children. They
            exist, and clearly cause the obvious problems.

            This IS about those businesses that pursue profit and control, and
            only profit and control, and damn any other consequences (economic,
            environmental, health, innovation (or lack thereof), international
            conflict, social distress or otherwise).

            This IS about those politicians and governments that pursue agendas
            detrimental to a good, loving, comfortable and peaceful existence
            (e.g., think about those politicians whom send sons and daughters of
            voters overseas to fight and die or worse, for the prestige or pride,
            profit and control of a corporation (often referred to as a country)).


            Using his law enforcement experience and data drawn from the FBI's
            behavioral analysis unit, Jim Kouri has collected a series of personality
            traits common to a couple of professions.

            Kouri, who's a vice president of the National Assn. of Chiefs of Police,
            has assembled traits such as superficial charm, an exaggerated sense
            of self-worth, glibness, lying, lack of remorse and manipulation of

            These traits, Kouri points out in his analysis, are common to
            psychopathic serial killers.

            But - and here's the part that may spark some controversy and
            defensive discussion - these traits are also common to American
            politicians. (Maybe you already suspected.)

            Our elected officials often show many of the exact same character
            traits as criminal nut-jobs, who run from police but not for office.

            Kouri notes that these criminals are psychologically capable of
            committing their dirty deeds free of any concern for social, moral or
            legal consequences and with absolutely no remorse.



            This IS ALSO about those voters who continue to vote these
            psychopaths into office, or buy goods and services from businesses
            with a psychopathic bent.

            Apparently, psychopathic behaviour is largely learnt. That is how it
            moves from generation to generation, or business to business. A
            victim can become a psychopath and affect many others (creating
            more victims). It can be contagious.

            Talk about a sick society (or societies).

            Democracy may well be a sham. But psychopaths have a lot to answer
            for. Including censorship (the 'I want total control over you' syndrome).

            Some say the number of psychopaths in Britain number 1 in 200.


            Whilst the number in the United States of America is closer to 1 in 38.


            One wonders how many psychopaths are in China? Russia?

            Or in your neighbourhood?

            Free trade is not free. Conditions apply.

            And every country in existence today is actually a corporation.


            They're legal fictions. But these psychopaths and the corporations with
            a psychopathic bent are making big bucks off you and your birth


            Cusip uses you SS# to identify you because the birth certificate is an
            investment security. All these are registered at state level with
            department of human resources, then to department of commerce at
            federal level, and the to the DTC (Depository Trust Corporation on
            Water Street. CUSIP is a trademark of Standard and Poor. It is located
            under the DTC building at 55 Water Street in New York City. The 9
            digit cusip is also used for isid (international numbering system).



            Salute a national flag, is saluting (and subjecting oneself) to that
            corporation (and its rules).


            Go figure.


            Whatever happened to the idea that everyone is equal before the law?

            The 'control freaks' censored education.

            What was common knowledge and accepted three or four generations
            ago is now viewed as an extremist position not worth thinking about,
            let alone actually doing.
          • The blurr between national and corporate...

            is scary to most folks. There is no doubt as world class corporations get bigger, that they actually form a world government of sorts. They definitely have a LOT of say in each country they operated in. Some suggests too much influence.

            A nation is another corporation, or cooperation(not really different); however I feel in most instances the nationalistic boarders are stronger than the corporate boarders. Very few folks love their corporation, that they work for, many folks love to fawn over their country. The allegiance is strong in many folks in most countries I believe.
          • Deleted by author(double post)

            These have been happening a lot more lately, despite my efforts to prevent it. Something goofy is going on with this site. ?:|
          • They are also held up as role-models!

            Thus inflating their self-importance and exacerbating their behaviour.

        • yes - and the economic system that it is pushing

          has done more to develop China than the economic policies pushed by the World Bank from Washington on much of the world that needed development. Just look at the number of countries now establishing "development partnerships" with China - the West (now politically correctly called "North") had its chance with the World Bank and blew it. 1989 saw the end of any threat from the USSR, and China is now stepping in to a niche market. I would call that "free market enterprise" myself - offering assistance where the West just couldn't see past the stupidity of their bankers' ideologies. And in case the West didn't get the message after the failure of the World Bank's Structural Adjustment Programs, why, we had the repeat performance last year...
          How empires crumble and new empires begin.
      • Of course they can

        China can block access to any site including However, they can only block it for people within China. They can't prevent people in the USA from seeing sites in other places. China has gateway filters for data requests outside mainland China.
      • Blocking a foreign site???

        What are you talking about. Hong Kong is China and China will simply block mainland access to the site in HKG which they can do. Those outside of china (which includes Hong Kong and Macau) can have all the access they want to but then so what?
        In this case google is just trying to save face whilst the Chinese government maintains its original position without change. Basically all that has changed is that google has gone from 'self-censorship' to the normal censorship that china practices on external sites.
      • You Gotta Be Kidding!

        Wow, I suppose you think the Fed is run by US Treasury? China is not the old USSR. How many times have you lived in China? I've lived in the US. I live in China now. If it wasn't for China buying US Treasury notes at $100Million a month for the past 3 years there'd be none of what the US, UK and Europe have now. Zero. I buy a linen shirt here for USD$4 that I have to pay USD$200 in any western city. If I buy them buy the 10,000 I can get them for a UD$1, so who's making the $s? BINGO, yes, you got it, your compratiots.
        Do yourself a a favour and google the CFR - the Council on Foreign Relations. Check out the City of London while you are there and the Bildeberg group. Also go look for the Fool Me Twice Vidoes on how Mossad, the CIA and Asio detonated nuclear devices in Bali and Jakarta. Why was the Bin Laden family escorted out of the US in their private jet on 10/11??? When all else was grounded. Osama Bin Laden, Bin Laden. Got the connection??? Come on smell the grass.
        • ASIO caused the Bali bombings?

          I OBJECT!! ASIO is an aussie intelligence agency, we're not that good. =P
        • yep

          AMEN to that.

          But brainwashed people will call you crazy or paranoid, thats why they were brainwashed programmed for...

          Nobody wants to wake up watching TV
      • stakeholders???

        I thought the US OWED China about 2 Trillion dollars...?
        Since when did debtors have a say in what their money bags do?
    • RE: Google stops censoring China search site; Sales and R&D to stay

      Utterly ascend after that your conclusion before the bank of <a href="">weight loss pills</a>.
  • RE: Google stops censoring China search site; Sales and R&D to stay

    GREAT GOOGLE!!! I love you...