24 Mar 2010

Google leaves China?

Well, kind of...

After 4 years of their controversial self-censored presence in China, Google is finally pulling the plug on it's .cn search operation. Following allegedly official Chinese government hacking attempts on the g-mail accounts of Chinese dissidents Google has threatened to leave China. Note this affects only their search business not their other commercial interests in China i.e. Doubleclick, R&D, sales and content.

This doesn't mean a complete withdrawal of service to Chinese browsers however as there is a temporary re-direct in place from the .cn domain to the Hong Kong based Google site. Cynics might claim that this is a PR driven action from Google as they pull back their investment from a market they have failed to penetrate as effectively as they have elsewhere - it's worth noting that Bing have stepped right into the gap Google have left behind - but it could just signal a strategic shift for the business.