Google shifting its mood on China

Scott Tong Mar 5, 2010
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Google shifting its mood on China

Scott Tong Mar 5, 2010
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Seven weeks ago, Google threatened to pull out of China, saying censorship and computer hacking were just too much. And yet the two sides are still talking — and they could be making nice. Marketplace’s Scott Tong reports from Shanghai.


Scott Tong: A lot of Internet geeks in China thought Google would have left by now. When the company whined about Chinese Web controls and hacking, chances seemed low that Beijing would accommodate the company.

But is it? Social media strategist Tom Crampton is with Ogilvy public relations. He thinks China’s reacting to pressure from U.S. Secretary of State Clinton. She’s made the Google case a diplomatic beef.

Tom Crampton: It’s something the U.S. government has almost worked in concert with Google to raise this beyond an issue that is about one company.

Google may think Beijing’s heeding its complaints. Or the company’s may have had a chance of heart and decided 31 percent of China’s vast Web search market is not so bad after all. Problem is, if it stays in China, it’ll have to explain itself back home.

Crampton: Google is now going to be held quite accountable domestically, in the U.S., to the statements it made.

For now, it seems Google’s A-OK in China. It’s hiring Chinese engineers, and next week rolls out smartphones in China with Google software.

In Shanghai, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

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