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Google warns it may leave China

The Google Chinese logo is displayed on a sign outside the company's office in Shanghai

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Last night, the search engine giant Google said cyber-attackers "originating from China" hacked into the company servers and stole corporate secrets. More than 30 other companies were hacked as well. But Google is the only one to take on the Chinese government about it, and possibly pull out of the country. From Shanghai, Marketplace's Scott Tong reports.


Scott Tong: Google accuses Chinese hackers of not only stealing corporate secrets, but compromising Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. The company, whose motto is "don't be evil," says it will "review the feasibility" of doing business in China.

But already, Google fans laid wreaths at the company office, and many assume it's all but gone.

Thomas Crampton is with the social media team at Ogilvy Public Relations in Hong Kong:

Thomas Crampton: Google is walking away from the largest Internet population in the world, that is soon to overtake the United States in the level of e-commerce.

But it would not walk away a champion. Google's a distant second in the search wars, behind a Chinese rival. In fact, most American dot-coms struggle in China. Here's Internet commentator Kaiser Kuo in Beijing:

Kaiser Kuo: We're talking about a company where their main domain name, Google.com, was something that most Chinese Internet users just simply couldn't spell.

Still, it's rare for a giant multinational to take on official China. Why now? Many say Chinese censors are squeezing the life out of Web companies that spread what Beijing considers inappropriate content.

In Shanghai, I'm Scott Tong for Marketplace.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.
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Google did not say the hackers stole corporate secrets. They said they attempted to break into the accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

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