Google may be pulling out of China as early as April 10, says Bloomberg. In January, Google responded with threats of leaving after it was learned that not only were the massive attacks on Google and others’ infrastructures and data perpetrated by people in China, but they were done by people in the Chinese government itself. An official announcement from Google is expected to come next week on March 22.
Bloomberg also reports that an ex-executive with Google in China says that the move by the search giant would probably mean burnt bridges and an inability for the company to return to the Chinese market.
Google has removed most filters from its Chinese searches, which is against the directives of the Chinese government. That move, meant mainly as a retaliation for the hack attempts, was met by stiff bureaucratic upper lips. Relations have reportedly been worsening and the search giant may be ready to just call it quits, leaving the largest Internet usage market (by users) in the world.
This move would be a large boost to competitors like Baidu, the leading China-based search engine.
Many are calling the potential move by Google the “right thing to do.” PCWorld blogger Ian Paul calls the move “socially responsible,” but questions the business decision on its loss of market potential.
To get a little political myself, I would say that Google pulling out is probably, in the end, in Google’s best interest. If the Chinese government sets rules and Google has followed them (which they were), operating under the premise that the nation’s laws are to be followed, and then that country attacks or funds people who attack their infrastructure and proprietary data.. Then who is in the wrong?
If attacks by the Chinese government’s cyberwarriors accessing and potentially stealing Google’s data being something that China sees no problem with while they at the same time demand that Google follow the laws of China or face expulsion or fines, the double-standard will eventually have to be dealt with. Given the potential losses, perhaps a pull-out by Google would be the proper thing to do.