January 14, 2010

Why Google has played the China situation brilliantly


Google made the right decision to build a business in China a few years ago. And it's making the right decision now, by threatening to pull out of the country if China doesn't relax its censorship demands.

Google's decision to make a big public threat now, when it controls 15% to 20% of China's search market and is known to most Chinese internet users, will put far more pressure on the Chinese government to relax its policies than a boycott of the country five years ago would have.

Google matters in China now. The announcement that Google was threatening to pull out spawned public support for the company in China. It got Secretary of State Hillary Clinton into the act. It forced the Chinese government to respond with a statement. It has grabbed the attention of investors, as well as the hundreds of other companies that do business in China and are forced to play by Chinese rules. It will focus more public attention on the reality of China's censorship policies than any boycott ever could have.

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