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January 14 2010

Four Years of Google In China

No matter Google will finally withdraw all business from China or not, I think it is time to review Google’s four-year operations in China. So I made the following list, if I omitted anything important or made any mistake, feel free to leave your comments.

Google China

  • July 19, 2005, Kaifu Lee joined Google, which was also a big thing in tech sector at that time
  • January 26, 2006, Google launched Google.cn in China, which filtered search results to obey China’s law and regulations
  • March 2, 2006, Tencent launched its search engine service Soso.com, which was powered by Google’s technology. Actually Tencent partnered with Google on search service and search ads on Feb 4, 2005
  • April 12, 2006, Eric Schmidt announced Google’s Chinese name 谷歌
  • June 26, 2006, Google sold its 2.6% stakes in Baidu
  • January 4, 2007, partnership with China Mobile
  • January 5, 2007, announced investment in Xunlei, a mega-file downloader
  • March 2007, acquired 265.com, the acquisition was announced on May 23, 2008
  • March 12, 2007, launched Daohang service, which is a hot sites directory in one page. Daohang is a simple but very China-oriented service
  • April 2, 2007, announced its investment in Tianya.cn, one of the biggest BBS in China
  • April 4, 2007, launched its Chinese Input software, however which was found to copy the code from Sohu’s Chinese Input software. Later Google acknowledged it and apologized to Sohu
  • May 24, 2007, launched China’s life search service, you can search information on housing, jobs, train tickets, restaurants and so on
  • June 11, 2007, announced its strategic partnership with Sina, largest online portal in China, on search and adsense service.
  • July 1, 2007, Netease announced Yodao, its own search engine, and it will not renew its partnership with Google.
  • August 20, 2007, Google announced its new products on Tianya.cn, these two services, Tianya Laiba and Tianya Answer, intended to compete with Baidu’s popular service, Baidu Tieba and Baidu Zhidao.
  • September 27, 2007, Google finally got the ICP licence which is required by China’s regulators to operate website in China
  • January 30, 2008, Google released a Google map mashup, Spring Festival Mass Transportation Map, which was regarded as a product to show the innovative culture of Google.
  • March 26, 2008, announced its $1m investment in Comsenz, a social software developer.
  • May 8, 2008, launched its dictionary software which is a partner with Kingsoft
  • August 5, 2008, announced its partnership with Top100.cn to operate music search service in China
  • March 30, 2009, launched its music mp3 download service in China
  • June 18, 2009, China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre (CIIRC) published a report in its frontage condemning Google.cn for spreading obscene contents. The report, titled as “Strongly condem google for spreading indecent and obscene information”. CCTV also made series reports on the issues, which made Google to suspend its Google Suggest and overseas web page search temporarily.
  • September 3, 2009, Tencent announced it will start to use its own search technology on Soso.com to replace Google’s search technology.
  • September 4, 2009, Kaifu Lee resigned from Google to run his incubator
  • October, 13, 2009, Two Chinese writers’ groups claim that Google has scanned Chinese works into an electronic database in violation of international copyright standards.
  • January 13, 2010, Google announced its new China approach, and stop filtering search results, and it may pull out of China.

(Image copyright REUTERS/Jason Lee)

Related posts:

  1. Google China Partners With Sina
  2. Google Answers Rebirth From China
  3. Google Investment In Xunlei To Be Announce Next Week

China Web Radar | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us | Follow us on Twitter| China Tech Events
Post tags: Google, Google-China

January 13 2010

Google’s New Approach: Say No to China

Google’s announcement of its new China approach is the biggest tech news today, there are tons of comments and analysis on news, blogs and tweets already. I currently don’t have much more to add to the discussion. I just pick up some posts I read and share with you.

Google’s statement is very controversial, some people believe that it is because of the lose of business in China. Sarah Lacy of Techcunch think “I’m not saying human rights didn’t play into the decision, but this was as much about business”, and ” Google has clearly decided doing business in China isn’t worth it, and are turning what would be a negative into a marketing positive for its business in the rest of the world.” Sun Yunfeng, the Chief Product Designer of Baidu, also questionned Google’s sincerity in his personal blog, “If Google gain 80% search engine market share in China, will Google’s executives announce do no evil and quit China”? (The original post has been deleted from his blog.)

Obviously, Google doesn’t do well in China market, and revenue from China is immaterial, PaidContent pointed out that the estimated Google China’s $600 million revenue in this year “only represents just over two percent of the $26 billion in revenue that most analysts expect Google to post this year.” But it still keeps about 30% market share in this high potential Internet market. Leaving China in this way, without saving face to China’s government is not an easy decision to make.

Robert Scoble quoted, a Google Spokesperson “This is not about market share. While our revenues from China are really immaterial, we did just have our best ever quarter [in China].” Scoble also thought “China is a HUGE market”, “Google has EVERY INCENTIVE to kiss Chinese ass. That’s why this move today impressed me so much….It doesn’t matter to me that Google played footsie up until today, either. They were the first to stop playing footsie and THAT deserves a HUGE round of applause”.

It is not the first time for Google to think leaving China. Keso, the most famous IT blogger in China, said, according to his sources, Google had planned to withdraw from China in the year before last year, but Kaifu Lee sought help from Gary Locke to solve this problem. You should read Scoble’s second post to feel the push and pull of China market.

“As an American I saw two opposite poles [of China]: one of unending opportunity and one of unending frustration of dealing with the government…..I both disagree with [Sarah's article] and agree with it. Why? Because I’m feeling the push and pull of China. Is Google doing this because of business or because of ethics? Probably a little bit of both. Or, maybe, just sheer frustration from the push and the pull of China.”

You should also readJames Fallows’ post, “It is a significant development. Significant for Google; and while only marginally significant for developments inside China potentially very significant for China’s relations with the rest of the world.”

Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba commented that a company will encounter many difficulties when operating in any country. It is easy to leave China, but giving up is the biggest failure for Google. But Xie Wen, a prominent internet commentator, saidhe admires Google, and “China’s Internet companies should not take pleasure in other’s misfortunes, today’s Google China may be your tomorrow”, and “China’s Internet will enter into the Age of Stone”.

You can also find the translations of Chinese Tweets on it, “It’s not Google that’s withdrawing from China, it’s China that’s withdrawing from the world”.

Kaifu Lee responded on his Twitter, “A captain would never run away from his duty, if he knew the ship was sinking”.

It seems the best predictor is Robin Li, in about five years ago he said “we will not see Google in five years”, though he will not know Google will leave in this way.

Related posts:

  1. Google China Partners With Sina
  2. Google China Launches mp3 Search
  3. CWR Roundup: Netease, Alibaba Software, Tudou Funding and Google

China Web Radar | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us | Follow us on Twitter| China Tech Events
Post tags: Google, Google-China

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