Categories Analysis, Technology

Google’s Chinese search engine plans continue to ruffle feathers

Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) subsidiary Google recently disclosed plans to develop a search engine for China that would adhere to the country’s strict censorship laws. This decision disturbed several lawmakers as well as Google’s own employees, who believe the company is compromising on its core values. A former executive of Google went on to term the search engine plans as stupid and in violation of human rights.

Google, which had to leave China back in 2010 over the same censorship issues that are being debated now, appears to have been planning a comeback over the past couple of years. Google intends to do this with the help of local partners which include developers and advertisers.

Google has several investments and partnerships in China. The tech giant has invested in JD.com and Chushou and is looking to partner with Tencent for cloud computing operations. These investments and collaborations with Chinese companies are said to be part of Google’s efforts to win over the authorities in China.

Google has several investments in China such as JD.com and Chushou

Despite the cold vibes between the US and China, and the criticism from its employees and outside parties, Google appears to be keen to enter the Chinese market. Google’s Android system is very popular in China, and the country has a large customer base which provides growth opportunities for the search giant to launch new products and tap into fresh revenue streams. The opportunity appears to be lucrative enough that Google is willing to make changes to its policies to comply with China’s censorship rules.

China’s top technology firm Baidu, who is likely to give Google a tough competition, is confident that it can maintain its leadership position despite the American company’s return to the country.

This ongoing saga raises a few points worthy of debate. Companies are often asked to abide by the laws of whichever country they seek to enter so perhaps one can say that Google is simply choosing to do that. It remains to be seen whether it is possible for companies to steer clear of politics and freely pursue business opportunities.

Related: Google seems to be sitting on an ethical seesaw

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