Walking the talk :: Don't be evil
Many companies talk about doing things differently; about being a different kind of company, willing to eschew the trappings and pitfalls of other businesses in order to pave their own way and define their own destiny rather than have it thrust upon them. This is what Google is doing in China, and from my own perspective I think we should applaud their actions.
In case you haven't read about, Google has a new approach to China
I believe what Google hopes to achieve by doing this is to stay true to their ethos and informal corporate motto: "Don't be evil
." They’re a fundamentally different kind of company, and they’re finally acting like it in China. Good for them.
Regarding those who speak of Google’s “suicide” and “withdrawal”, the counterpoint argues that due to the relentless censorship, spying and now apparent organized and pervasive hacking activities of the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists by the Chinese government, it's not Google that's potentially withdrawing from China; it's China that's withdrawing from the world
. It is important to point out that twenty large companies from a wide range of businesses -- including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors -- have been attacked. After four years of submission Google is clearly taking a stand.
And whilst it is certainly true that they may be risking long-term prospects, in the short term, the decision won’t have much impact on the company’s revenue
. Today, Google’s revenues in China represent less than two percent of the $26 billion in revenue that most analysts expect Google to post this year.
Another potential contributing factor to Google’s willingness to act in suck a “risky” manner is the intense competition from Baidu
, the number one search engine in China with a reported 77% market share in Q3 2009. Google lost share in China in Q3, dropping to 17% from about 19% in the second quarter
. In the West, we always assume that Google is the number one and dominant player. In China and in other Asian markets, this is not the case. So, what could be seen as a risky move could turn out to be a decisive move by Google in a market and region where they truly need to shake up things up.
A side note: Baidu's stock is up around 14%
today on this news.
Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, I believe companies, individuals and indeed all of us should be confident enough to believe that history will be kind to us, for we intend to write it.
As far as I know, http://www.google.cn
is still up and running which suggests that the Chinese government
might not be as quick to pull the plug on one of the world’s biggest
and most influential companies as one might think.
Plenty of follow-on reading here