Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Google or China—Who Has More to Lose?

On Monday, Google closed its Internet search service in China and redirected users to its uncensored search engine in Hong Kong.

In an article I adapted from the New York Times today, “Behind the Free-Market Veneer (Google or China—Who Has More to Lose?)” it asks the questions, “Should Google take a harder stance and withdraw from China completely? Should multinationals like Google play a greater role in challenging China’s policies?” The article reads, "Google’s showdown with China is over censorship and now leaves the company with few choices". But did we really think it would be any different?

Ai Weiwei is an artist and political activist based in Beijing feels Google has set a different example. It has shown that it values decency and integrity, even when that means standing up to the Chinese government. The Chinese government has always been arrogant in dealing with protests of any kind when it comes to censorship or judicial reform. Google’s departure now teaches millions of people how much is at stake. What the Chinese government doing is suicidal.

Oded Shenkar is the Ford Motor Company Chair in Global Business Management and professor of management and human resources at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University. He is the author of “The Chinese Century.” Whether Google should take a harder stance is not really up to Google anymore. The company might have thought it could continue to have a presence in the search business in China from Hong Kong and elsewhere and keep other businesses like online ads sales and operating system/smartphone programs, but China does not work like that.

To an extent, this is a government-to-government dispute, since the U.S. is holding the flag of Internet freedom and has a stake in ensuring that American firms, particularly those in a field where the U.S. has a competitive advantage, are allowed to compete in a major foreign market.

See the full article here.

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