China and Google

I don’t really know too much about this controversy, but what I do know kind of boggles my mind.

It seems like google is willing to seriously damage is growth potential in order to protest Chinese censorship. It’s not that I’m unimpressed by google’s stand (if this is really what’s going on) so much as baffled that a modern company would make such a decision. China, as everyone always remarks, is a very large market and it seems somewhat suicidal to just leave. In fact, it’s worse than that, because google is not planning on leaving now only to come back later, or if they are, they need to take a second look. The Chinese government has done a good job of characterizing google’s intransigence in nationalistic terms; as an expression of cultural imperialism.

This seems like nonsense. If US consumers stop buying Toyotas, would relations sour between Japan and the US? Possibly, but companies are almost never linked to their home governments in the way that the Chinese are doing. Google is not the U.S. government.

However, then I read that google was giving search data from China to U.S. intelligence agencies. Whoops…

It’s hard to know what’s true and false here, but I would be disturbed to find out that google was giving up information to U.S. authorities, either of their own accord or under direction of the U.S. government. It’s just not a smart way to approach the China problem (if there is even a problem).

Anyway, the lesson is that I really should have bought a bunch of Baidu stock like 3 months ago, because they this news has sent their stock about 25% higher (they are the #1 search engine in China already, but now they won’t face google as a rival).


2 Responses to “China and Google”

  1. March 22, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Yes, the American government is involved and, no, I don’t know what’s true or false in the rest of it either.
    But if one always starts with the premise that the American government is involved, then the rest of the answers will fall into place eventually.

  2. 2 aaron
    March 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    well, google’s maxim is to “do no evil,” and if their raison d’etre is the democratization of information, censorship is about as evil as it gets.

    also, i read somewhere that BIDU is overpriced (which may be a moot point since I can barely afford to buy a single share)

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