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Poll: Is Google's Exit From China a Smart Move?

[polldaddy poll=2938230]

Google (s goog), today took a big step and decided to opt out of China. Whether it was its inability to cope with competition from Baidu or its moral outrage at the recent hacker attacks on its infrastructure, the company is the first Western company to say no to China.

The search giant’s blog says visitors to Google.cn are “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.” According to some estimates, Google is going to lose about $600 million in revenue this year alone from its China move. Take our poll and share your opinion on Google’s decision.

Related from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Is Google’s China Problem a Groundswell of the Closed Internet?

Image by Flickr user googlisti.

24 Responses to “Poll: Is Google's Exit From China a Smart Move?”

  1. Voting choices are incomplete. Google doesn’t have to bow down to ridiculous restrictive censorship laws. That is a choice that you should have included. It’s not about the competition and the hacking; it’s about censorship. Privacy concerns are much different from being told what one can and cannot search as subject matter.

    I have no idea WHERE Louis is located, but it sounds like he is a resident of China.

  2. My gut tells me its a combination of tactical business decisions.

    Money and Market Share is not enough reason.

    For a large MNC, losing market share to Baidu is pennies. They have the clout and money to continue investing for small improvements. They left China for a bigger picture.
    I think they exited China to get the buzz that and let every legislator know from all corners of the world that they will stand up to censorship.

  3. Certainly China is a big piece of market that every of company want to do business with. I think Google as media company should understand that oriental value is different from the west. Moving out from China is not wise decision.

  4. Subhash Bose

    Whatever it is Google is the first and only capitalist company to publicly show the GUTS to say NO to Chinese government…no other capitalist company has done so.

  5. Oh, please.
    China represents, at most, 2% of Google’s revenues. And what has Google actually done?

    Kept R&D in the mainland.
    Kept sales and marketing in the mainland.
    Their earlier pledge to follow the laws of China remains in place.
    They know China can (obviously) prevent access at anytime to Google in Hong Kong.

    Why give them a pass?

  6. NQ Logic

    A month ago, NQ Logic predicted that Google will move out of China. Today saw Google officially transplanting its Chinese base to its Hong Kong facilities. This value clash between an Internet company and an information-controlled country will continue to be present at every Multinational Technology executive board, and with Google’s disclosure, other U.S. technology companies will have a harder time to explain why they are still doing business in China.

    For a better and complete understanding of the situation, NQ Logic encourages you to read “Google Vs. China” at http://www.nqlogic.com

  7. I don’t think it was because of Baidu, it makes no sense not to fight for market share when you have the power to do so.I think its more then that and it is a business decision but perhaps a decision based on some morals and ethics which the founders still believe in.

  8. Now that Google has stopped censoring the results, China will block Google and I guess everyone gets what they want… China bans a service which violates local laws, and Google gets… much respect for taking a moral stand. Unfortunately shareholders don’t seem to see the value in that.

    Anyways, very emotional moment for a company which lives and breathes algorithms.

    • My analysis isn’t as cold as it sounds – but, I think back through the years I dealt with companies throughout Asia and I come back to cold hard facts.

      1. All of our discussions, praise or finger-pointing about Google’s high ideals or no ideals don’t mean squat on the cyber street. It’s eyeballs. It’s users.

      99% of all users don’t spend as much time in a year as we are spending on this topic today. They just use Google or Baidu or Yahoo – if they’re in East Asia.

      1. You want Google to commit all or nothing to a political decision? Do you want them to commit to that only in China? How about Australia if and when they initiate government censorship. Or Russia? Or the UK? Or Singapore?
  9. Are you kidding me about “getting crushed by Baidu”…$600 mil is nothing to sniff at (yeah, its almost nothing compared to their overall revenues) but i am sure they werent bleeding that bad that they had to come up with a reason to pull out…

    though the other reason sounds equally implausible…what will they do if their servers get hacked in the US or India or Russia ?? (Good case for Yahoo and Bing to pay a bunch of super hackers to take the competition out ;) )

  10. tolleson

    Folks, don’t get all squishy and lefty about this. It’s a business move. Google was getting crushed by Baidu. China has always been incredibly difficult and hacking can happen from anywhere to anywhere, so that is a non issue imho.

  11. @Om,

    Not all business is good business. Google certainly made the right move in my opinion as I just don’t know how Google could maintain credibility after complying with censorship in the first place. They’ve now made their first step towards rebuilding that credibility as it pertains to China.

    My $.02,

    Best.

      • Maybe they’re leaving China because they want to be seen as trustworthy to users (in addition to the other reasons). This could be seen in the way that Google stood up to the US Gov’t in 2006. Google’s business is increasingly dependent on users submitting willfully or naively to the Google panopticon. Unfortunately for Google, the China thing looks sloppy and inconsistent, and hasn’t turned out as well as they probably hoped. Additionally, the Google Buzz fiasco combined with Schmidt’s “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place” comments neutralized much of the trust and brand equity that could have come their way from this.