Free Essay About Google In China
2. Launching Google.cn and Allowing China to Censor the Search Results
Google made the right choice in 2006 to enter China for practical, business and ethical reasons. Although Google was accessible in China, it was extremely slow. Local internet service providers offer much faster service. As such, the accessible Google service in China was practically worthless unless one was looking for uncensored blogs and news items. Most internet users are not doing that. The practical thing to do was to be present in China. To operate in China requires that the company must abide by Chinese laws.
There are certain things that are universally accepted as right and wrong. To what extent should freedom of expression can be exercised is a matter for debate however. Should there be any limits? Is unbridled exercise of this freedom universally accepted? The US has one of the most liberal in the practice of this freedom in the world. Being at the extreme end, it would seem like some of the liberties allowed in the US could be that they are not universal at all. In many societies, there is censorship of some form, especially with regard to religious matters. Often, these restrictions are not necessarily a way to impose certain values on people. It is out of respect for people, for the members of the population. Also, it is a way to maintain peace in society.
Meanwhile, China may be at the other extreme in being very strict about censorship. It has violated many people’s rights. Certainly, does not have a right to impose US ethics on the country.
Leaving the people of China completely blind to the world would also keep the outside world blind to what is going on in China. What should be avoided by Google is that it is used as a propaganda arm of China.
As a business interest, Google is committed to its investors and shareholders to grow the business. China has the biggest population in the world and a huge potential market. As corporation responsible, it should enter the China market to secure and improve the earnings of is shareholders. The presence of Google in China could help improve the overall quality of service of all internet service providers there. Chinese internet had wanted competition. And competition does precisely that.
3. Withdrawing from the Chinese Market in 2010
Google did not make the right choice in withdrawing from China. It succumbed to a few vested interests and deprived one-fifth of the world’s population the opportunity to gain access to information limited though these may be.
In an official statement, Google’s chief legal counsel, David Drummond, claimed that it was the unfree environment in China and that the email accounts of human rights activists were hacked. Curiously, the statement noted that the hacking incidents may not have happened at the Google site itself, rather that investigations revealed that the computers of these activists may have been hacked at the users’ computers themselves through malware and phishing.
This is not a matter that Google should ordinarily be concerned with. Censorship is common in the country. As Drummond’s statement pointed out, the hacking was done not only at Google but also with the systems of at least 20 other large companies . It is a reality that everyone in China has to face and live with. In spite of the censorship, a study by the Chinese Academy of the Social Sciences (CASS) revealed that the Chinese people believe that the internet has had a profound influence on people. They believe that the internet has opened, despite limitations, opportunities to criticize the government. The vast majority of “Chinese internet users believe that the internet will make the world a better place”.
Google succumbed to pressures of lobby groups and the US government. “Google went about business as usual until 2010, when an attack on Gmail accounts of human rights activists forced executives to change strategies” The company did not violate an human rights. Neither did it violate its ethical standards. Nor did it violate any laws.
While the concerns of the human rights activists, it is not the mission of Google to promote and uphold their agenda. The company’s mission in China is clear: to provide the greatest number of people with access to the greatest amount of information No matter how limited the information people in China got, it was information nonetheless that they might have not had access to without Google.
While it may be the US government’s mission to promote freedom and justice for all, it cannot impose this on sovereign countries that believe otherwise. Neither should it use US corporations to pressure some countries to abide by its beliefs. There may be certain situations when such acts may be valid, such during war or when there is clear danger, but not in the ordinary course of day-to-day business. In agreeing to censorship, Google did not create any situation to further aggravate the human rights situation in China. On the contrary, it could have actually alleviated the situation.
So, in leaving China, Google sacrificed the interests of the Chinese people to give in to demands of vested interests of some stakeholders. Leaving China did not do the Chinese any good. Neither did it promote the interests of the human rights activists and the US government. It seems to have been a futile effort that smacks more of arrogance than concern for human rights.
4. A New Feature to Its Chinese-Language Site in Hong Kong
Based on its mission and in the context that Google had already exited China, it would seem ethical for Google to have added a new feature to searches to its Chinese language site in Hong Kong. It was doing the Chinese people well. It got round the laws other problems in China.
However, the attempt did not seem to succeed. Links to uncensored information continued to be blocked in China. “Mainland users can see its Chinese-language site in Hong Kong but the connection breaks if they search for sensitive terms.” The new feature did not really solve the problem. Some keywords are not allowed to be searched The new feature warns users of a possible break in connection should he proceed with the search. This would allow the user to revise the keywords in his search.
What makes this action less noble is the fact that Google continued to maintain its advertising offices in China. Google was trying to please the lobbyists and its shareholders. It was not serving its most important stakeholders in this case: the users in China. Nonetheless, it is a service provided that might have been completely gone in China. It would have been much better for Chinese customers for Google to have retained its Google.cn.
5. Effectiveness of Management in Communicating to Its Stakeholders
Google was not effective in communicating its China strategy to its stakeholders. The company was clear when it first entered China on the reasons why it was entering China This was emphasized in the Statement of Elliot Schrage, Google’s Vice President for Global Communications and Public Affairs, before the Committee on International Relations of the US House of Representatives on February 15, 2006. In the statement, Schrage reiterated the company’s mission and commitment, that it was doing China and its stakeholders good by entering that market. It was giving the people in China access to global information limited though that may be.
Under pressure from lobbyists, Google backpedaled in 2010. Its legal counsel cited freedom and human rights issues as among the reasons for its leaving China.
When it exited China, the company retained its advertising offices in the country. It continued to allow internet users in China to access its uncensored, Chinese language site in Hong Kong.
The problem with Google is it is uncertain about its position. At the start, it was aware that it will have to abide by China’s laws to operate there . It changed its mind later on . At the same time it tried to give users uncontrolled or uncensored internet access through its site in Hong Kong. While it purported to have left China, it retained advertising operations in the country.
Google was not upholding the interests of more than 500 million internet users in China. It was trying to milk this market even if it did not have any presence there. It should have stood by its decision for being in China in the first place.
Baker, J. S., & Tang, L. (2012). Google's dilemma in China. In S. K. May (Ed.), Case studies in organizational communication: Ethical perspectives and practices (2nd ed., pp. 285-294). Thous and Oaks, CA, USA: SAGE Publications Inc. Retrieved Mar 3, 2015, from http://ltang.people.ua.edu/uploads/1/6/6/9/16697670/02_google_case_study_chapter_2012.pdf
Drummond, D. (2010, Mar 22). A new approach to China. Retrieved Mar 3, 2015, from Google official blog: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/new-approach-to-china-update.html
McDonald, J. (2012, Jun 1). Google helps Chinese avoid censorship. USA today. Retrieved Mar 3, 2015, from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-06-01/google-china-censorship/55326416/1
Schrage, E. (2006, Feb 15). Testimony of Google Inc. Retrieved Mar 3, 2015, from Google Official Blog: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/02/testimony-internet-in-china.html