Using our problem-solving model we must first acknowledge that a problem exists and define or explain the problem. I believe that in this case, there are two problems. The first problem is, with China being a communist country, it wants to do it’s best to regulate freedom of information to its citizens. Secondly, the methodology behind implementing Google.cn could have been accomplished using a more informed and tactical approach.
Analyzing these problems are simply a matter of opinion in most cases. As for China censoring or limiting information to citizens, as a society this creates limitations to or stunts the growth of your people. According to CNN reports, China’s Internet censorship is more extensive and advanced than that of any other country in the world. CNN reports that the Chinese government not only monitors individual Internet access, but they go as far as to actually block website content deemed inappropriate for citizens. As if that is not enough, it is reported that China has the largest number of imprisoned cyber journalists in the world. Imprisoning citizens who simply use the Internet to communicate with people outside of the country, to sign online petitions pertaining to Government reform, etc… As we often hear, knowledge is power so why limit your people’s access to that knowledge? As with most communist countries I believe this is done because of simple fear. Fear that people will become intelligent enough to up rise and possibly attempt to, if not overthrow the government which it serves.
Then again it’s not always only about censoring what information the Chinese citizens have access to. Google did not even take into consideration the impact that they may have on China’s economy. With China having roughly about 20% of the worlds population, a new search engine competitor could have a real economic impact on the country. With that being said, China’s main goal was probably to boost it’s economy by allowing its local companies to flourish without interruption.
The other issue was obviously the lack of tactfulness by Google when creating and launching google.cn. Googles approach was very rigid and unorthodox. There appeared to be no real plans other than to launch the site and adjust as needed day by day according to customer demand. From what we gather in our reading, google had no formal meetings with the Chinese government before launching google.cn. A more involved approach / communication between Google and the Chinese government would have most likely yielded better results. Simple communication is interpreted as a sign of respect. It’s as if Google took the; “We are not going to worry about asking permission, we will just ask for forgiveness later” approach. We all know that the Chinese culture is one of the most respectful in the world. To provide and uncensored internet resource to the citizens of China without their express permission is very inconsiderate and disrespectful. This is why China’s own Baidu search engine, who had connections with the government of China, would reportedly block google searched websites and censor any search topics that were considered sensitive. It is more than evident that Google was not even courteous enough to research the Chinese government, to gain a better understanding of its censorship requirements and simple government behavior. However, I guess we can all believe that Google could be more successful in the Chinese market if they simply take a step back, analyze what could’ve been done better, and approach the country China in a more intelligent manner. all agree that at least google was a little more tactful than Yahoo when they created a version of Google’s homepage utilizing the Chinese language.
I believe that Google could be more successful in the Chinese market if they simply take a step back, analyze what could’ve been done better, and approach the country of China in a more intelligent manner. Maybe start off small by requesting a certain percentage of censorship and as time passes slowly request to increase the percentage. In addition, to sweeten the deal, google may want to re-invest any of its marketing profits from the Chinese citizens, back in to the Chinese economy.
On the other hand, China could also take more of an “obligation to its community” approach when it comes to censoring the information its citizens can access. How many of your citizens can you imprison for simply accessing free information on the Internet? How many citizens can you in prison for simply voicing their opinion about how the Chinese government operates? In today’s world of technological access to informational resources, it is only a matter of time before the Chinese citizens figure out a way to bypass all the censorship and website blocking.
- John A. Quelch and Katherine E. Jacz, “Google In China”, Harvard Business School, Revised April 22, 2010.
- Roseann Rife, CNN Report, “The chilling reality of China’s cyberwar on free speech”, March 25, 2015. https://www.cnn.com/2015/03/24/opinions/china-internet-dissent-roseann-rife/index.html