Google in China Case Study Analysis

Governments have a big influence on how businesses make decisions and how they run. The case study we’re looking at is really interesting because it shows us how businesses work in China focusing on the case study of Google in China.

Summary of the Google experience in China

Google started operating in the Chinese market in 2000. The company began by delivering services to the Chinese through its newly found site During the initial stages of its service delivery, often encountered slow or unavailable feedback from its users across China. This was attributed to a censorship initiative by the government of the Republic of China aimed at controlling the content fed to its citizens (Baron, 2006). According to the Chinese government, all internet providers were restricted from disseminating any form of information that would tarnish the image and policies that would incite the public to disrupt order. Therefore, Google had no option but to modify its style of service delivery by adjusting to work in strict conformity with the government rules and regulations. The site had its servers hosted in China.

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However, Google exempted features like email and users’ ability to create their blogs as the state could grab any user-generated content, putting consumers in danger of getting arrested. Later, Google adopted the self-censorship program, abided by Chinese laws, and regulated their site equal to any other internet provider operating in China. Unfortunately, the company was called out by the United States for standing with the government of China for unjustified content censorship. As a result, Google found itself in the dilemma of whether to disobey the government and change its style of service delivery or continue abiding by the rules and regulate ons of the state.

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Other Companies and Chinese Censorship

According to Baron (2006), other companies that were compelled to abide by the censorship laws imposed by the Chinese government were Microsoft, Yahoo, and Baidu. The common characteristic among these companies is that they all supported the censorship program of the state and adopted a self-censorship strategy as a way of obeying the government directive. For example, at one point Yahoo has been condemned for sharing critical information with the government of China, a move that saw the arrest and imprisonment of dissidents in China. Baron (2006), cites the arrest of Shi Tao in 2004 as the most infamous case where Yahoo was condemned sharing for Tao’s email account, leading to his arrest. Tao was found guilty of disclosing government secrets and he was jailed for a decade.

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Microsoft has also faced numerous problems related to Chinese government censorship. Microsoft was forced to conform to the regulations by the state, including modifying its Bing search engine to censor all search outcomes. Similar to Google, it was found at a crossroads of whether it should obey the laws of the land or listen to the outcry of the people demanding respect for human rights and freedom of expression. Baidu is another technology company that has largely been criticized for supporting censorship laws in China. Like any other content provider company in China, it was obligated to abide by strict censorship policies. As a result, Baidu went on to censor search results. This comprised eliminating any information deemed as politically controversial, sensitive, and a threat to the social fabric of the state. Additionally, Baidu maximized keyword filtering to prohibit searches for phrases that go against state laws. This practice is aimed at controlling the information that goes into the public domain and supporting the government agenda.  

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In my opinion, the actions of these companies highlight the challenges multinationals go through when serving in China where they have to obey the strict censorship laws and adhere to ethical concerns for them to access the massive Chinese market. These companies’ actions are the subject of discussion about human rights, corporate responsibility, and the duty of businesses in promoting government policies.

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Chinese Censorship policy

Great Firewall is the system used by the Republic of China to achieve its strict censorship policies. The system monitors and restricts internet users to reach particular content and websites. Through the Great Firewall system, the state filters information that is believed to be sensitive politically or opposes the narrative of the ruling party. The censorship has no boundaries as it extends to social media, search engines, and all online spaces.

U.S. congressional initiatives related to Chinese censorship

Some of the congressional initiatives that have been taken in the US in relation to content censorship in China include policies focused on criticizing censorship, promoting freedom of using the internet or imposing trade restrictions on nations that take part in the abuse of human rights and censorship programs. I support these U.S. congressional initiatives because we live in a time and age when the internet and content are basic needs. Therefore, any form of censorship aimed at filtering what the public can access should be condemned in the strongest terms possible.

Google’s Choices and Different Opinions Expressed

Google made the right decision to withdraw from the government’s censored search results and redirect its consumers to its uncensored search engine that had its servers in Hong Kong. This was applauded as a principled position against state-imposed censorship. The majority of the people were in support of Google’s decision to withdraw from the censorship program by the Chinese government. Those who supported Google’s stance opinionated that the company wanted to keep the trust of its international consumers and prove allegiance to its core values.

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After this great move by Google company, some critics opined that the company’s withdrawal from the Chinese market would cause a massive loss of revenue and market base (Brett et al., 2017). Others criticized the real effect of Google’s distancing from censorship rules and regulations, arguing that the move might not attract reasonable changes. The argument surrounding the actions by Google in China demonstrates the challenges that international companies face when entering nations with restrictive regulatory environments.

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