Google still keen on China

05 January 2011

BEIJING: Google, the search giant, is refusing to give up on establishing a strong position in China, despite the obstacles it has faced in the country.

In June 2010, the US multinational shut down its dedicated Chinese site due to concerns about censorship, diverting users to a Hong Kong-based alternative.

Speaking in an interview with The Times, Patrick Pichette, Google's chief financial officer, described this incident as a "roadblock".

"China has 1.2bn people. For Google to say, 'We're going to live on our mission, but not serve 1.2bn people', it just doesn't work. China wants Google," he added.

However, Pichette also outlined the organisation's continuing problems with the "great firewall of China", which limits access to online information.

Such issues came to the fore with the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to dissident Liu Xiaobo, a move opposed by the Chinese Government.

"[If] you were in China last week, two weeks ago, and you typed in Nobel Peace Prize – there were no results," said Pichette.

"You have the right to know who won the Nobel Peace Prize this year. For us to actually not have any of these results, it doesn't make sense to filter any more. That's why we took the stance we took."

Pichette drew parallels between this situation and the troubles facing Google in China at present.

"Think of Google's brand now," he said. "You're Chinese, you know … that the Nobel Peace Prize has not disappeared from the face of the earth. There lies the issue of brand. There lies the issue of our mission."

Data sourced from Fox Business; additional content by Warc staff