Google decides to stay in China after all

Google decides to stay in China after all

Summary: In a compromise move, Google announced they will not abandon the China market after all. Instead, they will move their servers and domain name to Hong Kong, while keeping their developers and sales personnel where they are now on the mainland.


Special Report: Google-China In a compromise move, Google announced they will not abandon the China market after all. Instead, they will move their servers and domain name to Hong Kong, while keeping their developers and sales personnel where they are now on the mainland.

Update: China counters by blocking Google's Hong Kong sites, and China thwarts Google's detour around censorship

Google's Hong Kong site will now offer uncensored search results in simplified Chinese for mainlanders, and in traditional Chinese for Hong Kong residents. Visitors to were already being redirected to on Tuesday morning. "We believe this new approach [is] a sensible solution to the challenges we've faced," said David Drummond, senior vice president of Corporate Development, on the Google blog Monday. "It's entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China."

Not surprisingly, China sees things differently. According to the official Xinhua News Agency the head of the Internet Bureau called Google's actions "totally wrong," and said that "Google has violated its written promise it made when entering the Chinese market by stopping filtering on its searching service." The official also denied responsibility for a recent spate of cyber attacks. "[We] express our discontent and indignation to Google for its unreasonable accusations and conduct."

Reactions to a ZDNet article posted here on Friday that called for Google to stay in China were mixed. Some readers expressed support of a policy of engagement, such as one who wrote: "Be a part of the change happening there at an unprecedented pace rather than standing on some self delusional high ground." Others regretted the potential business ramifications. "Google is good in technology, very bad in business," wrote one poster, who added: "The Chinese market is one that they should never lose."

The Hong King Chinese newspaper Sing Tao Daily ran quotes from the article, saying "Ed Burnette, a columnist from[sic] under the Columbia Broadcasting System Corp (CBS) says it was 'a pity and an avoidable mistake' for Google to retreat from China." Not too bad for an English to Chinese to English translation. Sing Tao Daily's story was picked up by the Xinhua News Agency as well.

On the other side, many comments posted on this site were in favor of Google's original threat to leave the country. "In the face of recent events I can't see how a presence in China would add anything positive to Google's strategy of openness," wrote one reader, who noted: "To stay in China Google must stop being Google, it's as simple as that." Another agreed, saying, "Thank goodness at least one American company is willing to stand for freedom and human rights."

"I want Google to stay," wrote one commenter, "while disregarding the Communist's attempt to force Google to obey its censorship, until they get thrown out." It looks like that may be precisely the strategy Google has decided to try.

What do you think? Have your say in the TalkBacks area below.

Topics: Google, Browser, CXO, Enterprise Software, China

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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  • Correction:, not (NT)

    • Fixed thanks (NT)

      Ed Burnette
      • Will you also edit your Blog to reflect recent developments

        In your article, Ed, you begin a paragraph by stating, "Not surprisingly,
        China sees things differently.", and then report only an opinion by the
        official Xinhua News Agency rather than the Governmental response to
        censor Google search queries as reported by the Yahoo article found
        on the following web link.

        For the benefit of your readers, I'll quote a key paragraph from that

        "Last month, Google said it no longer felt comfortable complying with
        the country's demands that it censor Web content deemed
        objectionable by the communist rulers. On Monday, Google began
        sending Web searchers in mainland China from the China-based to, based in Hong Kong. The former British
        colony has an open Internet, and Google is not legally required to
        censor results there.
        But that end-run doesn't prevent China's government from using its
        Internet filters ? known as the Great Firewall ? to block some search
        results and Web sites from being seen in the mainland.
        On Tuesday, a search request from within mainland China about the
        1989 Tiananmen democracy protests returned a notice that the "page
        cannot be displayed." It also caused the Web browser to disconnect
        for several seconds. Under the old, a similar query usually
        returned a list of sanitized sites about Tiananmen Square."

        Sometimes there doesn't seem to be a way around the "Great Firewall"
        after all .. at least for mainland Chinese residents. Or maybe there is
        but it seems that the current government takes great pride in seeing
        that its Firewall is alive and healthy, wouldn't you say?
        • Added the yahoo update, thanks (nt)

          Ed Burnette
          • I had read that Yahoo article as well

            Thanks, Ed, for including the Yahoo link. There always is a
            price to be paid for actions taken.

            Unfortunately, the Google incident may not be the end of
            confrontations over Chinese government policies. There was another
            article that was even a bit more disturbing (if that was possible) than
            the recent and ongoing Google/China interactions.

            MSNBC cited the Chinese/Go Daddy dispute which may cause another
            western internet company to leave the Chinese market. The details of
            which can be found in this link.


            As for myself, I have no bias that prevents me purchasing Chinese
            goods. On the contrary, I throughly believe in trade .. whether free or
            not .. as a means to lessen global tensions caused thru economic
            factors. In fact, I'm also of the opinion that any facet of an employee's
            public employment activities should be considered just that: public
            knowledge and subject to government oversight, if needed or wanted.

            I draw the line, however, when a service industry is forced to hand
            over client information to a government, any government, to do as it
            wills. That sort of policy leads to governmental totalitarian practices ..
            actions that must be brought to light as soon as possible otherwise
            the price to be paid for remaining silent or condoning such actions
            escalates .. often to tragic levels.
  • RE: Google decides to stay in China after all

    not good..
  • China democracy is not Google's business

    You really believe Google's move is not for money but
    for China democracy? Come on.

    The real story I can tell is all these happened are
    because of the related US and China laws and
    regulations, which Google has to follow if it wants to
    do business with US government or in China market.

    In China, for a internet service provider like Google,
    Yahoo, Baidu and Microsoft, it is mandatory to do some
    filtering on search results. This is no secret and it
    has been there for many years. In US, it is
    mandatory to satisfy certain business obligation if a
    company wants to do business with US government. some
    companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, L3...

    Google is negotiating a service or defense contract
    with US government. One of the pre-requirements for
    being granted this kind of contracts is
    that Google can't help China government do its
    censorship. In order to secure the potential very
    lucrative US government contract, Google has
    been in talk with China government on some possible
    compromises for several months. The result is China
    government refused any possible compromise. This made
    Google has no choice.

    After calculating the potential business benefits of
    US government contract and the pay back from the
    current China market in short term, Google decided to
    partially leave China market.

    The fact is, the Google's decision is a pure business
    decision, really not much about China democracy or
    China censorship. If it is not because of the US
    government contracts, Google will stay in China as
    • Re: Government contracts

      If that's true then why don't Microsoft, HP, or IBM have the same problem?
      Ed Burnette
    • Not true.

      [i]Google is negotiating a service or defense contract with US government. One of the pre-requirements for being granted this kind of contracts is that Google can't help China government do its censorship[/i]

      That is incorrect. It is not illegal to censor content in search, so there is no issue with Google doing business with the US government.

      France does it, as does Germany in reference to Nazi paraphernalia. Google honors that censorship, and if it was true that they are in negotiations with the US Government for a service contract, then they would not have even beed allowed to bid on it, and that would be without even counting China.
  • RE: Google decides to stay in China after all

    Dr.Kai-Fu Lee found Google China.without Dr.Lee & Co.Google can not survive in China.period. many other search machines will take over Google shares within a year.Sergey Brin refuse to be a loser,hopefully throught US pressure China to gain some special privilege to stay alive.
    john GANILAUMO
  • Oh the humanity!

    Especially when the march of the One World Order hits a speed bump.
  • RE: Google decides to stay in China after all

    how can the worlds largest population only contribute
    250-600 million of googles 24 billion revenue. This is
    not really a loss at all, communists are so stupid.
  • It may not matter

    If Obama and his liberal comrades continue to seize power here in America, Google might as well stay in China, or maybe they'll have to pull out of the U.S. someday because our freedoms have been demolished to the point where we are no longer distinguishable from the communist Chinese. If we can't even preserve our freedoms here at home, why in the world would we think we can help those in government bondage abroad?
    • Great and another one...

      Liberal =/= Communism....

      Communism is an left extremist view of things... like the nazi and it's ilk where right wing extremist.

      Oh and btw, Sarkozy, the right wigned President of the French Republic is at the left of Obama on the political scale.

      So what if you now have a public health care program that actually makes sense? At least now a majority of US citizen will be able to have medical insurence that makes sense instead of having to pay 200$ to cover your left eye, 200$ to cover your right eye and 12000$ to cover your tooths...

      PS: China is a despotic regime that tries to control the minds of their sla... subjects.
      • You totally missed my point

        You totally missed my point there. Our government is spending money we don't have, sticking their dirty paws into everything from banking, automakers, healthcare, the burdening our businesses with environmental regulations that hurt our economy. Every time the government sticks its nose into something new we lose a little more freedom.

        Health care reform that makes sense? Are you serious? Don't you realize that Europe has almost spent itself into bankruptcy trying to provide entitlements to their people they can't afford? Look at what is happening in Greece. Look at both the British National Health Service (NHS), it's going BROKE! Now the Canadian government is admitting that their health care system is broken and unsustainable.

        All this means nothing to Obama though. He just wants to please his liberal base. It doesn't matter to him that social security and medicare are going bankrupt. He figures we can just raise taxes to pay for it. NEWS FLASH! We're BROKE!!! What morons!
        • Actually you DID miss my point.

          I've heard horror stories about US health insurance that would have rediculous restrictions...

          And yea, Greece's current pit is not because of the health system but because they are spending money they dont have on everything. But then aggain it's Greece...

          Canadian governement is controled by McReformist of the right wing who once said "Global warming is a communist hoax" stupidly forgetting that we have less and less cold days in Canada during winter...

          Oh and the health related problems in Quebec is not really due the public healthcare but with McMorron Charest not doing annything to fix the problem and instead always saying it's the opposition's fault(even if Charest was in power for the last 8 years).

          How ever I was infering that if it's annything like the Quebec public medecine insurance system as I was expecting, it would have made sense... however another post informed me of some stupidity in the bill... but then aggain when was the last time you had a governement that was sane to something correcly...
          Bush was his idiotic war in Irak, Obama was a waisted attempt at probably making the best public health care system in the world.

          PS: The best system would have been something along the lines of:
          "You are forced to have healthcare insurance but you cannot have both private and public... and if you subscribe to the public one, you get to pay an aditionnal fee on your income tax. " Offcourse without anything like what Rick_K mentionned.
          • Let?s put the blame where it belongs

            It was the Clinton Administration, that brought us the wonderful
            things like NAFTA, GATT, H1b visas, Fanny Mae/Freddy Mac. When
            Clinton took office, the average CEO was getting $25 for every dollar
            the average production worker was making. Yes there were a few
            extreme cases. When CLinton left office the average CEO was making
            $425 dollars for every $1 the average production worker was making.
            There was a big movement to ?offshore? skilled labor, to third world
            countries in the late 90s.

            I saw a few companies shift their manufacturing to Mexico, and Asia.
            While doing this the top management got huge bonuses. I was
            working as a repair tech, in a small company; The company?s vice
            president, announced that there would be a freeze on employee pay,
            while he just picked up his $60,000 Lincoln Navigator, with his bonus
            check. His comment was that the employees were lucky to have a job,
            I gave my notice that day.
          • Ummm....

            What's the minimum wage in the US? 7$?

            PS: Lobbies are bad... they should be illegal.
          • We were not talking about minimum wage jobs.

            I am talking jobs that were paying $12 to $17 an hour, in 1998. I
            believe that minimum wage at the time was in the $4 to $5 an hour
            range, but I am not sure.Companies were moving jobs to Mexico, to
            take advantage of the $1.75 abhor labor rate, pushing people in this
            country out of their jobs.At the the time I was making $14.50 an hour,
            only to see my job get shipped to Mexico. The upper management all
            got bonuses, some of these bonuses were more than I made a year,
            you could multiply it by 2 or 3 times. I ended up taking a job for
            $12.75 an hour, only to be told there was a wage freeze, 2 weeks
            before I was due to get a raise. But that didn't affect the company?s VP
            from getting his $70,000 bonus.Two years after i left I ran into
            someone that was stupid enough to stay there, only to find they had
            not achieved a raise in those two years. I am also willing to bet my last
            dime that the management got their bonuses for both years.
      • ?Osamacare" sucks

        [i]So what if you now have a public health care program that actually
        makes sense? At least now a majority of US citizen will be able to have
        medical insurence that makes sense instead of having to pay 200$ to
        cover your left eye, 200$ to cover your right eye and 12000$ to cover
        your tooths?[/i]

        The only problem is going to be the two year wait to see that doctor.
        Here?s some interesting stuff you might have missed.

        **Page 50/section 152: The bill will provide insurance to all non-U.S.
        residents, even if they are here illegally.

        Yep that works out well, now the illegals get free healthcare, not to
        mention they will clog up the system.

        ** Page 58 and 59: The government will have real-time access to an
        individual's bank account and will have the authority to make
        electronic fund transfers from those accounts.

        Someone has to pay for those illegals, and foreigners that are clogging
        up the system.

        ** Page 65/section 164: The plan will be subsidized (by the
        government) for all union members, union retirees and for community
        organizations (such as the Association of Community Organizations
        for Reform Now - ACORN).

        Hey why not they already get free healthcare, just make the tax payers
        pay for them too.

        ** Page 203/line 14-15: The tax imposed under this section will not
        be treated as a tax.

        How could anybody in their right mind come up with that? Oh wait
        we?re talking about Osama Hussein Obama, nevermind.

        ** Page 241 and 253: Doctors will all be paid the same regardless of
        specialty, and the government will set all doctors' fees.

        But interestingly they will not regulate the fees charged by the
        hospital; so the cost is the same, the money just goes to upper
        management. Isn?t Osama?s wife on the board at a large hospital?

        ** Page 272. section 1145: Cancer hospital will ration care according
        to the patient's age.

        Rationing healthcare, this is the start of the slippery slope, what next?

        ** Page 317 and 321: The government will impose a prohibition on
        hospital expansion; however, communities may petition for an

        So no expansion to cover the explosion of foreign, and illegals,
        doctors forced to lower pay, who?s making out on this? Oh yeah the
        ?Preferred? hospitals will be allowed to expand. I guess working
        America does not count. Do what you can for the welfare scumbags
        and illegals.

        ** Page 425, line 4-12: The government mandates advance-care
        planning consultations. Those on Social Security will be required to
        attend an "end-of-life planning" seminar every five years.

        You Must attend mandatory Death School, nice!

        ** Page 429, line 13-25: The government will specify which doctors
        can write an end-of-life order.

        DId not a doctor go to jail for this? Will he be given a pardon and put
        in charge? Talk about Doctor Death.