March 18, 2010 11:26 PM PDT
Report: Google to leave China on April 10
Google is expected to announce on Monday that it will withdraw from China on April 10, according to a report in a Beijing-based newspaper that cited an unidentified sales associate who works with the company.
"I have received information saying that Google will leave China on April 10, but this information has not at present been confirmed by Google," the China Business News quoted the agent as saying. The report also said Google would reveal its plans for its China-based staff that day.
A Google representative declined to comment on the report.
Google, which has a significant share of the search market in China, announced in January that it no longer intended to censor search results in that country and would consider leaving entirely. Google has identified China as the source of attacks on prominent U.S. Web properties and e-mail accounts belonging to human rights activists, though it has not revealed the specific people behind them. For its part, the Chinese government has denied any involvement.
After months of negotiations over whether it can run Google.cn with or without restrictions, it seemed that Google was getting ready to make a decision in the near-term future. However, according to a Financial Times report last week, Google is now "99.9 percent" certain that it will shut down Google.cn.
The Chinese government has reportedly warned Google business partners to prepare for the day when they can't use Google services such as a search bar on their Web sites. Earlier this week, Google confirmed that it had received a letter purportedly signed by 27 advertising partners in China that complained of a lack of communication on the part of Google and demanded to know how they would be compensated if the company withdrew from China.
Updated March 19 at 8:25 a.m. PST with Google declining to comment.
From: Susan Wilhite (MKT-US)
Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 11:53 AM
Subject: Newsbank :: Twitter designs China registration page, is still blocked in China
Twitter designs China registration page, is still blocked in China
Photo by ivanlanin's photostream
"The Internet is a tidal wave that is going to be impossible for anyone to keep out," Twitter co-founder Evan Williams was quoted as saying during an event at SXSW in Austin, TX. "In places like China it is hard to say how long those firewalls will be able to hold up."
Hate to break it to you, Mr. Twitter, but the internet's tidal wave has very much crashed into China - it just didn't bring any fail whales with it. Indeed, at 384 million users strong, there are more people accessing the internet in China at the moment than there are in the entire United States. They're using social networking, too, and using the be-jesus out of it: with a 2008 revenue of over $1 billion, TenCent's QZone outearned twitter, facebook and myspace - and that was before the so-called "Great Firewall" locked the former two services out of China.
The latest internet-related hoopla, which has today made with the promise of a "Chinese registration page" for twitter, complete with in-person endorsements by artist and "digital activist" Ai Weiwei, seems to have stemmed from the ongoing Google-China conflict - the pair are currently in the "off" position. See, after Google suggested that it planned to stay in China for the long haul - executive Eric Schmidt was quoted as saying "we are in active negotiations with the Chinese government. Something will happen soon." - something happened, namely that the Chinese government reminded the conglomerate that search results, at least on its G.cn product, still have to be censored. As a result, the G.cn product will almost certainly be no more - like 99.9% certain.
Look, we appreciate Evan Williams' optimism. Twitter is pretty cool! But the fact is that China's "Great Firewall" is more aptly named than people think: like its namesake, it's designed to keep foreign invaders out, not just to confine Chinese citizens in. As long as homegrown products are satisfying the needs of everyday Chinese, why would the government allow foreign competition?
More importantly, if it were really about social oppression, wouldn't they have blocked access to the countless, cheap VPN options afforded to anyone who doesn't mind paying? China's banking that most of its citizens do mind paying, which is why there's no logical reason for twitter, facebook, et al to be let back in.
As far as tidal waves are concerned, the largest internet company in the world is about to head back out to sea. So, with all due respect, Mr. Williams, we doubt that your little - but brilliant! - garden party of just 25 million users is going to change Beijing's mind anytime soon. To state it in 140 characters:
Google's headed out, the Chinese love Kaixin and QQ and I can still tweet thanks to my VPN. Sorry Evan! #twitter #China
Robert, it's so much to read stuff like this, with your unique wit. Nice going. Crossposted.
Ironically, you can follow Shanghai Daily on Twitter. I wonder which marketing brain came up with that one
You can follow pretty much *anybody* on Twitter:
1. Create a fake account named after them.
3. Log into your account and follow them.
There's all sorts of fancy stuff you can do at Step 2 to make it look less like a fake account, but really it all boils down to the above two steps. So don't get your knickers in a knot about the Shanghai Daily (even if they are real). Look, it's the Expo on Twitter! Look, it's the Shanghai Metro on Twitter! Look, it's the Shanghai city government on Twitter!