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