Bloomberg | Jul 11, 2010
After winning permission from China’s government to continue to operate in the country, Google Inc. must now fight for relevance as Baidu Inc. extends its dominance in the world’s largest internet market. Uncertainty over whether Google would be forced out of China, prompted some advertisers to switch to Beijing-based Baidu. Google had its license renewed last week after it stopped automatically sending Chinese users offshore. “There is a big gap between Baidu and Google, and that gap has got bigger,” said Vincent Kobler, managing director of Emporio Leo Burnett, a Shanghai advertising agency that specializes in online marketing. “It’s going to be tough for Google, even with the renewed license, to gain market share.” Google’s market share in China fell to 30.9 percent in the first quarter from 35.6 percent three months earlier, according to data from research firm Analysys International. Baidu’s share increased to a record 64 percent from 58.4 percent, according to Analysys. “It won’t be easy for Google because its service has been diminished in the past few months,” said Jake Li, an Internet analyst at Guotai Junan Securities in Shenzhen. “Baidu is likely to stay ahead.”
Last month, to remain in compliance with China’s laws while also ending self-censorship, Google added an extra step for Chinese Web surfers, directing them to a landing page that in turn pointed them to the Hong Kong site. It then submitted a revised application to renew its license. Adding another complication for Chinese Web surfers will cost Google, Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos., said in a July 9 research note. Every extra step added to the search process will lose users, he said. Google always seeks to improve the quality of its service to users, spokeswoman Marsha Wang said. She declined to comment on the company’s sales and market share in China. “Our position has always been the uncertainties surrounding Google have had no more than a marginal impact on our revenue, and I don’t see any reason why this changes things,” said Kaiser Kuo, Baidu’s spokesman in Beijing. Google rose 2.4 percent to $467.49 on the Nasdaq Stock Market on July 9. The shares declined 25 percent this year, compared to a 73 percent gain by Baidu’s stock. Continue reading
Reuters | Sat Jul 10, 2010 | 4:31am IST
Google Inc’s deal with Beijing to end a censorship dispute removes one irritant in U.S.-China relations, but the two countries still face deep divisions over the Internet’s future. Google said on Friday that China had renewed its license to operate a local website after the search engine giant agreed to stop automatically redirecting users of its China search site, Google.cn, to its uncensored Hong Kong site. "Both sides gave up something, and in that sense it was a very elegant diplomatic compromise," said Sheldon Himelfarb, a technology expert at the U.S. Institute of Peace. "But there is a sideshow going on that we need to keep looking at, and that is the disconcerting pattern of abuse of Internet ethics by the Chinese."
The Google deal defused a spat between Washington and Beijing that blew up in January after Google said it might be forced to abandon the Chinese market because of hacking attacks and censorship concerns. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led U.S. officials in backing Google and demanding China explain the alleged hacking incidents, adding tension to relations beset by China’s currency practices, arms sales to Taiwan and other issues. They were met by denunciations from Beijing, which rejected the accusations and marshaled Chinese state media to accuse Google of promoting a political agenda. But with Sino-U.S. relations already under strain and Google’s future in the world’s biggest Internet market suddenly open to question, all sides opted to back off a bit in hopes a solution could be found. The end result was Friday’s deal, which saw Google hold on to its Chinese Internet license and Chinese website while still enabling users — albeit with one more click — to access unfiltered search engine results through its Hong Kong site. "It is a classic Chinese solution," said Rebecca MacKinnon, a China expert at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton. "Substantively they’ve changed nothing, but technically they have come into compliance with Chinese law."
BBC News | Wednesday, 30 June 2010 | 09:57 GMT
Google has announced a "new approach" in its ongoing battle with China over censorship. Until recently, the firm automatically redirected Chinese users to its unfiltered search site in Hong Kong to get round censorship issues. Google has said it will now stop this after Beijing warned it could lose its licence to operate in the country. Instead, Chinese users will be sent to a "landing page". Clicking anywhere on it sends them to the Hong Kong site. In practice, this will make little difference to Chinese internet users as searches for sensitive topics are still blocked by China’s great firewall. However, Google said that the subtle change – where users have to actively click on a link to access unfiltered search results rather than being automatically redirected – was "consistent" with its approach not to self-censor search results and was hopeful it would allow it to continue operating in China. Chinese law demands that companies use web servers based in China and that they agree to censor certain sensitive information. BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones said there was no guarantee the Chinese authorities would accept the new arrangement.
Google announced the changes one day before the deadline to renew its Internet Content Provider (ICP) licence, necessary to operate in the country. "Without an ICP licence, we can’t operate a commercial website like Google.cn—so Google would effectively go dark in China," said David Drummond of the firm in a blog post. "That’s a prospect dreaded by many of our Chinese users, who have been vocal about their desire to keep Google.cn alive." A spokesperson for the firm said Google was about to submit its new ICP application to the government and had made the changes in an effort to continue operating in the country. It has already begun to channel some Chinese web users to the new page. "Over the next few days we’ll end the redirect entirely, taking all our Chinese users to our new landing page—and today we re-submitted our ICP licence renewal application based on this approach," said Mr Drummond.
BBC News | 12:34 GMT | Thursday, 25 March 2010
China Unicom is to stop using Google search on Android handsets. The second biggest operator in China is believed to be taking the step in reaction to Google’s decision to stop offering a censored search service. Instead of using Google search, handset makers will be able to decide which search service to use on phones that run Google’s mobile operating system. At the same time Google said it would withdraw more of its uncensored search services in China. The China Unicom deal will first have an impact on Android phones being developed for it by Motorola and Samsung. The move could be a big blow for Google as China has far more people owning and using mobiles than it does using the net.
Google search looks set to become even rarer in China as it steps back from providing uncensored search services to online firms and mobile operators in China. Google has more than 12 syndication deals with Chinese firms. "Over time, we will not be syndicating censored search to partners in China. But we will of course fulfil our existing contractual obligations," a Google spokeswoman in Singapore told the Reuters newswire. If partners prefer to take a censored feed, this could mean that the contracts with Google for search are not renewed. On 22 March, Google shut the censored search
08:15 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010
China has said Google’s decision to stop censoring Chinese search results is "totally wrong" and violates its promise to abide by local laws. The US giant is redirecting users in mainland China to its unrestricted Hong Kong site, although Chinese firewalls mean results still come back censored. Beijing said the decision should not affect ties with Washington. Google threatened to leave the Chinese market completely this year after cyber attacks traced back to China. Google’s move to shut its mainland Chinese search service is a major blow to China’s international image, the BBC’s Damian Grammaticas reports from Beijing. It means one of the world’s most prominent corporations is saying it is no longer willing to co-operate in China’s censorship of the internet, our correspondent says. China has moved to further limit free speech on the web – Google’s own websites and the e-mail accounts of human rights activists have recently come under cyber attack.
‘Politicisation of commercial issues’
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters that Google’s move was an isolated act by a commercial company and should not affect China-US ties "unless politicised" by others. The government would handle the Google case "according to the law", he added. Earlier an official in the Chinese government office which oversees the internet said: "Google has violated its written promise it made when entering the Chinese market by stopping filtering its searching service and blaming China in insinuation for alleged hacker attacks." "This is totally wrong. We’re uncompromisingly opposed to
Reuters | Sat Mar 20, 2010 | 6:35am IST
An exit from China’s search market could mark a setback not only for Google Inc’s global business strategy but for a stock that has long been synonymous with virtually limitless growth opportunities. After nearly six years of tantalizing Wall Street with its unbridled potential, Google is for the first time threatening to close off a key avenue of future growth if it shuts down its operations in China, the world’s largest Web market by users. For the investors that have long celebrated Google’s status as one of the tech industry’s leading growth stocks, the situation in China is cause for some re-evaluation. "It hurts the multiple people are willing to pay for Google if they don’t have the China opportunity," said Aaron Kessler, an analyst at Kaufman Brothers.
Since Google said in mid-January that it intends to stop censoring search results in China, the stock has fallen roughly 6.3 percent, closing at $560.0 on Friday and wiping away about $11.6 billion in market capitalization. During the same period, the Nasdaq has gained 3.4 percent. The Google sell-off occurred even as Wall Street’s near-term financial expectations for the Internet company have improved. During the past two months, the average analyst estimate for Google’s revenue and earnings per share next year have risen 3.1 percent and 2.3 percent respectively, according to Thomson
Reuters | Wed Mar 17, 2010 | 10:35am IST
Chinese firms selling advertising space on Google’s search pages have demanded clarity about the search giant’s plans in China, as speculation increases over Google’s future in the world’s largest Internet market. Their demand comes amid signs that Google Inc may soon move to close Google.cn, more than two months after it hit back against sophisticated hacking attacks from inside China and said it was no longer willing to offer a censored search engine. Google and China have been tight-lipped since then about any talks to reconcile their differences. A letter purportedly from 27 Google-authorised sales representative companies says the wait has gone on for too long, eroding their business, scaring off employees and putting big investments in jeopardy. "We see a constant stream of information but cannot predict the future, we see business sliding, but there is nothing we can do," says the letter, which was also posted on a website affiliated with China’s central television. "We are waiting now in incomparable pain and disquiet." Google has received the letter and is reviewing it, spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said.
Many of the signatories, contacted by Reuters, would not comment on the letter, or said they were unaware of it. Some said that neither their affiliation with Google.cn nor the fight between Google and the government had hurt their business, although others acknowledged hesitancy by customers unsure of Google’s future in China. "We don’t want Google to pull out. We believe Google will give us a proper explanation," said a customer service manager, surnamed Sheng, at Suzhou Universal Internet Media, adding she was not familiar with the contents of the letter. The Wall
BBC News | Friday, 12 March 2010 | 15:17 GMT
China’s top internet official has warned that Google will "pay the consequences" if it continues to go against Chinese law. Google announced in January that it would no longer comply with China’s internet censorship laws. It warned that it may shut down google.cn because of censorship and a hacking attack on the portal. Minister of Industry and Information Technology Li Yizhong was speaking at China’s annual legislation session. "We need to preserve our nation’s interest, our people’s interest, we cannot be relaxed with any information that will cause harm to the stability of our society, to our system, and to the health of our under-age young people," he said. "So, of course, what needs to be shut down will be shut down, what needs to be blocked will be blocked."
‘Up to them’
Google began operations in China in 2006 to widespread criticism. While many argued Google was complicit in the censorship imposed by Chinese government, Google insisted it was nevertheless serving the public interest even though it was furnishing censored results. Relations between China and Google cooled in January after what Google described as a sophisticated cyber attack in which the webmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists were
Reuters | Sat Mar 13, 2010 | 4:16pm IST
Talks with China over censorship have reached an apparent impasse and Google, the world’s largest search engine, is now "99.9 percent" certain to shut its Chinese search engine, the Financial Times said on Saturday. It said in a report on its website Google had drawn up detailed plans for closing its Chinese search engine. The newspaper cited a person familiar with the company’s thinking as saying that, while a decision could be made very soon, Google was likely to take some time to follow through with its plans. That would be in order to bring about an orderly closure as the company takes steps to protect local employees from retaliation by authorities, it said.
China warned Google on Friday against flouting the country’s laws, as expectations grow for a resolution to a public battle over censorship and cyber-security. Google shocked business and political circles in January when it threatened to pull out of China if it could not offer an unfiltered Chinese search engine. The threat came after cyber attacks originating from China on it and about 30 other firms. "If you don’t respect Chinese laws, you are unfriendly and irresponsible,
BBC NEWS | Friday, 22 January 2010 | 08:36 GMT
Internet groups have welcomed a call for US companies to take a “principled stand” over censorship from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The move comes as Google considers pulling out of China following cyber-attacks on its operations there. “Censorship should not be accepted by any company,” said Mrs. Clinton. “Her call for corporate responsibility will reverberate around the technology industry,” said Leslie Harris of the Centre for Democracy and Technology. “The question of how they chart an ethical path when operating in these difficult markets has been on the front burner of policy debate for close to five years,” Ms. Harris told BBC News. “Secretary Clinton has thrown down the gauntlet and companies are going to have to respond.”
The Secretary of State’s remarks were part of a major foreign policy speech made in Washington DC where she named countries such as China, Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan as having boosted censorship or harassed bloggers. Mrs. Clinton tackled head on the issue that has resulted in search giant Google considering leaving China after Gmail accounts of human rights activists were hacked. “We look to the Chinese authorities to conduct a thorough review,” said Mrs. Clinton. “Free expression and security are important issues for governments Continue reading
Reuters | Beijing | Mon Feb 22, 2010 | 9:48am IST
U.S. government analysts believe a Chinese man with government links wrote the key part of a spyware programme used in hacker attacks on Google last year, the Financial Times reported on Monday. The man, a security consultant in his 30s, posted sections of the programme to a hacking forum where he described it as something he was “working on”, the paper said, quoting an unidentified researcher working for the U.S. government. E spyware creator works as a freelancer and did not launch the attack, but Chinese officials had “special access” to his programming, the report said. “If he wants to do the research he’s good at, he has to toe the line now and again,” the paper quoted the unnamed U.S. government researcher saying. “He would rather not have uniformed guys looking over his shoulder, but there is no way anyone of his skill level can get away from that kind of thing. The state has privileged access to these researchers’ work.” The report did not say how analysts knew about the man’s government ties.
The allegations over the spyware are the latest episode in a dispute that has pitted Google and the United States against China, with its wall of Internet controls and legions of hackers. In January, the giant Internet search engine company, Google, threatened to pull back from China and shut its Google.cn Chinese-language portal over complaints of censorship and sophisticated hacking from within China. Washington has Continue reading
Reuters | Beijing | Tue Jan 19, 2010 | 4:22pm IST
Google Inc will not be treated as an exception to China’s demand foreign companies obey its laws, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, a week after the world’s largest search engine warned it could pull out of China. Google said last week it and other companies were targets of sophisticated cyber-spying from China that also went after Chinese dissidents. It also said it no longer wants to censor its Chinese Google.cn search site and wants talks with Beijing about offering a legal, unfiltered Chinese site. The Internet dispute could stoke tensions between China and the United States, already at odds over the value of the Yuan currency, trade quarrels, US arms sales to Taiwan and climate change policy.
Chinese officials have so far publicly fended off Google’s complaints and not openly flagged any talks with the world’s biggest Internet search company, which opened its Chinese-language search site in 2006. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu pressed the company a little more on Tuesday in comments that suggested scant room for giving way to Google’s demands. “Foreign firms in China should respect China’s laws and regulations, and respect China’s public customs and traditions, and assume the corresponding social responsibilities, and of course Google is no exception,” Ma told a regular briefing. Ma did not mention censorship as being among those responsibilities, but other Chinese officials have. Continue reading
BBC NEWS | 2010/01/18 | 10:57:38 GMT
Online revenue generated in China surged by more than 30% to 74.3bn Yuan ($10.9bn, £6.7bn) in 2009, a research firm has said. iResearch predicts that online earnings in China from advertising, games, shopping and other activities will surge 51% to 112.3bn Yuan this year. Separately, a report said that Google has begun talking to China about not filtering content on its search engine. It refused to confirm this, saying it “won’t be giving a running commentary. We’ve said already that we will be taking a new approach in China,” a Google spokesman in London said. “We will be discussing with the Chinese authorities the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all.”
On 12 January, the company said in its blog that Chinese human rights campaigners using its Gmail service had been hacked. It said it would hold talks with the Chinese government to stop censoring its search engine, and would leave the country if an agreement could not be reached. China Continue reading
Reuters | Beijing | Thu Jan 14, 2010 | 6:25pm IST
China defended its extensive censorship and brushed aside hacking claims on Thursday, telling companies not to buck state control of the Internet after U.S. search giant Google threatened to quit the country. The Google dispute could stoke tensions between China and the United States, already at odds over the value of the Yuan currency, trade quarrels, and U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and climate change policy. It threw a spotlight on hacking and the Internet controls that Google says have stifled its business in China. Google’s challenge to Beijing came as foreign businesses have voiced growing frustration at China’s business climate, even as Chinese economic growth outpaces the rest of the world. Google, the world’s top search engine, said it may shut its Chinese-language google.cn website and offices in China after a cyber-attack originating from China that also targeted other firms and human rights campaigners using its Gmail service.
The company, which has struggled to compete with local market leader Baidu, said it would discuss with the Chinese government ways to offer an unfiltered search engine, or pull out. But Minister Wang Chen of China’s State Council Information Office said Internet companies should help the one-party government steer the fast-changing society, which now has 360 million Internet users, more than any other country. Wang did not mention Google, but his comments suggested little room for compromise in the feud over Internet freedom. “Our country is at a crucial stage of reform and development, and this is a period of marked social conflicts,” Wang said in an interview that appeared on the Information Office’s Continue reading
Reuters | Shanghai | Sat Jan 16, 2010 | 7:02pm IST
Yahoo got pulled into a growing row between China and Google on Saturday, as its Chinese partner slammed Yahoo’s statements supporting Google while a source revealed the search giant had stayed silent about cyber-attacks. Yahoo knew it had been a target of sophisticated Chinese cyber attacks on U.S. firms before Google alerted the company to them, but remained silent while its bigger rival went public, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters. Yahoo’s Chinese partner, e-commerce firm Alibaba Group, in which it owns a 40 percent stake, nonetheless called “reckless” Yahoo’s comment last week that it stood aligned with Google’s positions.
Meanwhile, a Google spokeswoman on Saturday denied Chinese online reports that it has already decided to shut down its google.cn site. “Alibaba Group has communicated to Yahoo! that Yahoo’s statement that it is ‘aligned’ with the position Google took last week was reckless given the lack of facts in evidence,” the firm said in a statement on Saturday. Yahoo said Wednesday it stood aligned with Google’s position that attacks on company networks are deeply disturbing and that violation of Internet user privacy is something that must be opposed. That was a day after Google announced it might exit the China market after suffering a sophisticated cyber-attack on its network that resulted in the theft of its intellectual property. Continue reading