In the face of its much-vaunted corporate principle, 'Don't be Evil', global internet giant Google has opted to search for yet more yuan by agreeing with Beijing apparatchiks it will accept government censorship of its Chinese sites.
The company has agreed to erase information which is not acceptable to the communist regime, such as references to independence for Taiwan and the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.
Its new Chinese site, Google.cn, which goes live this week, will not allow access to email, chatrooms or blogging services and users will be notified when certain search terms have been deemed unacceptable by the authorities.
The California-headquartered titan defends its concession, arguing it can play a more useful role in China by participating in - rather than boycotting - the country.
Comments Google senior policy counsel Andrew McLaughlin: "While removing search results is inconsistent with Google's mission, providing no information (or a heavily degraded user experience that amounts to no information) is [even] more inconsistent with our mission."
The number of internet users in China is predicted to rise to 187 million within two years. To gain access to this hugely lucrative market most homegrown giants like Sohu.com and Baidu.com, along with China sites operated by Yahoo and Microsoft, routinely block searches on politically sensitive material.
Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff