OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Google to Embargo China

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  • chris,

    Question is, of what interest are images of 六四事件?

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Caillan Crowe-McAuliffe,

    Google has not 'embargoed China'. In response to alleged security breaches targeted at human rights campaigners, Google has stated that it is no longer willing to censor search results in google.cn. The statement makes it clear that Google plans to negotiate over the next few weeks with the Chinese government, rather than take any action immediately.

    Obviously this is not how to do business in China, and as the statement has already hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, it's hard to imagine the negotiations working out. Can anyone provide background about google.cn's business success? I'm under the impression that over the last few years Baidu has taken more and more marketshare, but I don't have any detailed knowledge about this.

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2008 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Yeah, Baidu is bastly superior for entertainment, I know very few who take google as their first choice search engine. I'm not convinced this doesn't have anything to do with the 6 months long blocking of youtube. tug o war.

    Would China care? I'm sure any intellectual technology Google brought to China has been long since rinsed evident in the hacking of the accounts, and so, thanks for your effort towards the cause Google.

    Benny and Joon folks
    http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/aGVa80enu6U/

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Caillan, the forum you linked to said that Baidu's share remains superior but has gone down. However given all the nationalistic chest-beating, who knows how accurate that is.

    I reckon Keith is closer to the mark even if this is a bluff.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    Google has not 'embargoed China'.

    Ahem, my bad. As a journalist, embellishing headlines for effect is... actually, it kinda *is* journalism.

    I know I should change it... but it's a tomahawk of a headline: simple, balanced and brutal. [Gah, changed it.] Also...

    The statement makes it clear that Google plans to negotiate over the next few weeks with the Chinese government, rather than take any action immediately.

    Yes, but they *have* taken action immediately. Confused the hell out of me - I don't think I was the only one who thought the censorship was still operational.

    It's not.

    I don't really understand what the game plan is, but, safe to say, I don't think you can take "we'll sit down and work something out" at face value.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    Obviously this is not how to do business in China, and as the statement has already hurt the feelings of the Chinese people...

    Absolutely, there are a lot of nationalist sensitivity around this. But I'd take it with a pinch of salt. First, it sounds a lot like the official government line, which is that Google's bluffing, and as a greedy company after the Chinese market, this is all just a hissy fit. Second, there are probably a lot of people who believe this (or just don't care about Google, or about online freedoms), but there are many who do. They would be equally offended at the notion that the Google should keep its mouth shut, even though they have evidence that China's trying to dig up information from them to use against activists.

    Can anyone provide background about google.cn's business success? I'm under the impression that over the last few years Baidu has taken more and more marketshare, but I don't have any detailed knowledge about this.

    Um, I've heard estimates of Google's market share from around low 10s to high 20s (percent of market share). It's a distant second to Baidu, but it's very, very far from trivial.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    embellishing headlines for effect

    Supports yr thesis, works for me

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Caillan Crowe-McAuliffe,

    Heh, fair enough about the headline. I didn't want to look like a hard-arse, but there were so many rumours flying it seemed reasonable to clarify.

    You've got a good scoop on the breakdown of censorship -- nowhere else I've seen has picked it up. I misread Google's statement in that regard.

    I don't really understand what the game plan is, but, safe to say, I don't think you can take "we'll sit down and work something out" at face value.

    I agree. Trying to make sense of it, perhaps Google had already decided to leave China (for whatever reason) and decided that this was the best way to do it. They get some good PR in the West, maybe some leverage with other governments in markets where they're the only player. Bad publicity from security breaches could be so worrying that they wanted to control the story breaking itself, although obviously that wouldn't be cause for withdrawal from a large market. In any case, this post (linked form ESWN) claims that there were rumours of a withdrawal a few weeks back.

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2008 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Ahem, my bad. As a journalist, embellishing headlines for effect is... actually, it kinda *is* journalism.

    I know I should change it... but it's a tomahawk of a headline: simple, balanced and brutal.

    Trouble is, it's completely misleading, i.e. unbalanced. It's not great if your tool isn't right and you whack off your own foot.

    Sure, headlines can be punny, exaggerating or sly. But outright wrong is something best reserved for the crappiest tabloids.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    but it's very, very far from trivial.

    150,000,000 internet users may not care Keith.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Keith: there's a broken 'hhttp:' link there

    [Keith: Chur. Fixed.]

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Harvey,

    Westmere • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    150,000,000 internet users may not care Keith.

    ... but I think 15,000,000 exporters will start to get irritated when a prospective customer Googles "Chinese mobile phone supplier" and gets no hits...

    And yes, I know this can be fiddled, but what a pain...

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    ... but I think 15,000,000 exporters will start to get irritated when a prospective customer Googles "Chinese mobile phone supplier" and gets no hits...

    I don't think that, even in a worse-case scenario, Google will cut China out of the internet. This is about Chinese access to Google service, which isn't life-threatening, or even economy threatening.

    It's power is mainly symbolic - but that's no small symbol.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    perhaps Google had already decided to leave China (for whatever reason) and decided that this was the best way to do it. They get some good PR in the West, maybe some leverage with other governments in markets where they're the only player. Bad publicity from security breaches could be so worrying that they wanted to control the story breaking itself, although obviously that wouldn't be cause for withdrawal from a large market.

    You're absolutely right there. I think there are very serious reasons (perhaps a combination of factors) for Google taking this action. Protecting the accounts of dissadents, or even protecting their entire Gmail system is unlikely to be the extent of it. There may be things that are likely to either threaten the viability of their business in China, or things that threaten the profitability of Google Inc as a whole.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I think this Google policy change is linked to a wider American losing of patience with China.

    Since before WWII US policy in particular towards China has been marked by a remarkable wishful thinking, but I predicted after President Obama was humiliated in Copenhagen, kept sitting around whilst the lower level Chinese functionaries he was talking to "consulted" with Beijing, that the Chinese would live to regret that gratuitous act to the leader of the most powerful - and proud - nation on earth.

    It should be obvious to everyone that the whole concept of economic engagment with China to bring about political change has been a failure. It was always nothing more than an insincere figleaf that allowed Western business to make profits out of Chinese serfs, and it does little beyond provide muscle to an old fashioned, twentieth century totalitarian regime with a nineteenth century mindset bent on imperial aggrandizment.

    Colin James in the Dom Post on Monday described NZ in the 2010s as a "safe and distant" country. Well, he is is dreaming IMHO. Personally, I've been very uneasy about the "new China" since well before all the shrill anti-Western rhetoric leading up to the Beijing Olympics and when I witnessed the disloyalty to New Zealand of many New Zealand resident Chinese in Aotea Square around that time it just confirmed to me China is a threat to us.

    We need to pull our heads out of the sand and quit our wishful thinking about the threat China poses to our country and region. There is a new confrontation brewing in this, the new Pacific century, and with our ANZAC/US allies we will be in the front line.

    Hillary Clinton is here tomorrow for John Key's first bilateral since he took office. Expect an announcement on resuming joint training. Expect to start to see offers of cheap (or free) military equipment from the United States. Make no mistake, from Canberra and Washington we will see an increased expectation to rearm to confront China's continuing 21st century totalitarianism. From trying to tell us what to do over Falung Gong and the Dalia Lama to interferring in our region (economic aid to stymie our attempts to oust the military thugs in Suva being but a single, prime example) to insisting on free immigration be built into our FTA, It should be clear which country is currently posing an increasing danger to our country.

    Time to start thinking about rearming, folks.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Time to start thinking about rearming, folks.

    It's nice of you to post these historical documents about what people said one hundred years ago about the yellow peril, but how about a bit more 21st century thinking?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    It's nice of you to post these historical documents about what people said one hundred years ago about the yellow peril, but how about a bit more 21st century thinking?

    In the space of 15 years China has moved to become the third largest aid donor to the fourteen Pacific Island Forum (PIF) nations, after Australia and Japan.

    China is engaged in a major military build up, and is seeking to develop a strategic reach.

    The Chinese are actively seeking to dominate resource extraction in the Pacific, controlling the largest nickel mine in Papua New Guinea and most of the illegal logging companies in Indonesia. The Chinese tuna fleet constitute the majority vessels operating in the region. China has encouraged emigration from the mainland as part of establishing a permanent Chinese presence in Oceania.

    In 2007 China was the second largest investor in this region.

    This has seen a tenfold increase in Chine-PIF trade between 1995-2005, a 32 percent increase in trade in 2006-07, coupled with the opening of number of Chinese diplomatic missions and a wave of Chinese migration in the first nine years of the millennium.

    I know it takes a long time for anything new to penetrate all the way to Dunedin, but how about you update your thinking for the 21st century rather than sticking your fingers in your ears and going "la la la"?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Time to start thinking about rearming, folks.

    Oh, good, I was hoping we'd get to fight China at some point. And I may be a wishful thinker here, but I do so like our chances.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Oh, good, I was hoping we'd get to fight China at some point. And I may be a wishful thinker here, but I do so like our chances.

    Awesome. Does this mean we reinstate compulsory military service?

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    know it takes a long time for anything new to penetrate all the way to Dunedin, but how about you update your thinking for the 21st century rather than sticking your fingers in your ears and going "la la la"?

    You mean the twenty-first century where it's okay for a country with a sixth of the Earth's population and its fastest-growing economy to take an interest in the region around it?

    There's a debate to be had about how China conducts its foreign policy, but demanding that it not interact with its neighbours because it frightens the white people isn't it.

    Awesome. Does this mean we reinstate compulsory military service?

    If we round up all the unemployed people and put them in the army, we're only looking at, what, hundred-to-one odds? Plus, the unemployment rate drops to zero! Clearly a winning solution.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Time to start thinking about rearming, folks.

    I'm going to have to digest that. Are you serious?

    Here's some light reading which I'm going to do while I decide whether, and how to respond.

    James Fallows Copenhagen Archives.

    Freedom and Capitalism: Non-Violence as a Form of Warfare (Mike Bonnie, US)

    China introduces law to boost renewable energy.

    I thought we might have moved on from the 'Reds Under the Beds' paranoia of the 60s, or was that 40s?, but clearly I'm just a naive utopian idealist. Yes they have some human rights issues to attend to, but you think the USA is any better? Guantanamo and the secret CIA detention camps ring any bells? If we are going to base our global military strategy on what Hilary Clinton and the USA DOD tells us, then we really are in for a nasty surprise. Do we seriously want to buy in to the 'terrorist threat' scenario? Seriously?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Does this mean we reinstate compulsory military service?

    Full employment, dude. Take that, recession!

    Of course, we may need some kind of island-based solution to the problem of the potentially "disloyal" NZ Chinese population. Survivor Soames, anyone?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Of course, we may need some kind of island-based solution to the problem of the potentially "disloyal" NZ Chinese population. Survivor Soames, anyone?

    But they're disloyal foreigners - in that situation, can we really trust them not to eat the tuatara?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Shay Lambert,

    But at least it means we get updated remakes of paranoid, jingoistic Reagan-era classics.

    Expect another Rocky sequel soon with a geriatric Stallone facing off against Yao Ming.

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 78 posts Report Reply

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