Google , the world’s search engine giant has threatened to pull out its operations from China on account of Censorship issues and Hacking of Gmail accounts of many chinese human rights activists who wanted to shine the China alleged abuses. Given the might of the two giants , the threat involves large social and economical ramifications.
Current Scenario –
1. In mid December Google reported highly sophisticated and targeted cyber attacks on its corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in theft of intellectual property in China. It’s not just Google , But at least 20 other companies from different sectors namely finance , internet and chemical have reported such attacks .
2.The gmail accounts of many American based and U.S based Human Rights Activists have been routinely accessed by third parties which is gross violation of internet privacy and cyber security .
3. Though China being the most populated country in the world having more than 350 million internet users is not smooth ride for global brands because of communist red tapism. Internet companies specifically have to adhere to censorship policies dictated by Beijing . Anyone disobeying such rules which prohibit sites providing information on sensitive issues like Tibetan independence movement get his sites blocked .Goocle.cn for instance blocked search results for Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 as well as results based on corruption investigation into a company once headed by Chinese premiere Hu Jintao . The chinese government is one of the most efficient ones in censoring web . The blocking technology has proved to be so effective that it is called The Great Firewall of China .
When a Global Company enters into local market of a country , it has to accord itself with its public policies , culture, traditions of that country . Now When google entered China in 2006 it had to acquiesce to the strict censorship rules of China to tap rapidly growing market . But in 4 years it could capture 30% of chinese search engine market . Majority 70% market is still controlled by local search engines like Baido . China forms just 1.4% of the total revenue of Google . So quitting China won’t effect it commercially . But further cooperation with China and submission to their unreasonable rules might harm Google’s ” Don’t be Evil “ motto . It is not just about the security breaches and human rights implications , but it forms the greater part of debate for freedom of speech .
Global brand do have social ramifications . We cannot segregate the economic, political and commercial aspects here when The brand holds a strong connection with its user and their culture .