“Suhu has never given up its search service, and we will work hard to develop it this year … … It’s not likely the search market will be monopolized just by one company” [Charles Zhang, CEO of SOHU.COM China’s largest web portals]

“For China Google is not important.  It is unfortunate that the discussion between the Government and Google have become an open spat …  Many Chinese know how to get around censorship and are able to obtain  information over the Internet from various sources” [information executive]

Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, said earlier that providing uncensored searches through the Hong Kong-based google.com.hk website was “entirely legal” and would “meaningfully increase access to information for people in China”.

“You got to decide: Do you want to obey the laws of countries you are in, or not?  If not you end up not doing business there.” [Bill Gates, Microsoft].  Mr. Gates appears to have decided:  Microsoft’s search engine Bing is still censoring results in China.

The Bangkok Post carried the headline:  “Google Siding with Censors: ... the company made a difficult business decision on China, but by doing so it may have to make an even more difficult decision:  How to justify other censorship, including the cooperation with Thai officials.”   Another headline stated:  “Freedom of information:  In theory Google won the moral high ground … in reality, praise was lukewarm for the search engine giant.  But Google did not come across as unsoiled.  After he ended four solid, unbroken, kowtowing years of bending to the Chinese, Google cofounder Sergey Brin only sounded like an annoying convert rather than a holier-than-thou straight shooter as he urged governments and businesses worldwide to stand against state censorship, something he does not do.”  [Bangkok Post] The Bangkok Post refers to ongoing censorships in Thailand and other parts of the world tolerated by Google.    

Google ignored the interests of its shareholders by making the decision to switch to Hong Kong.  Since late Jan. 12, when Google said it could no longer censor its search results in China and might exit that country, Google’s shares have fallen 6% to 557 while Baidu’s have soared 58% to 608. Global search king Google is a solid No. 2 in China to Baidu. Nos. 3 and 4 Microsoft (MSFT) Bing and Yahoo (YHOO) are far behind.

Sources:  China Daily; Public Affairs Asia Bulletin; Bangkok Post; South China  Morning Post

BIIA Newsletter April I – 2010 Issue