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Monday, January 18, 2010

Google Threatens to Quit China after Cyber Attacks

Posted by @ 1:40 am

g-cGoogle said last week that they are considering pulling out of China after a sophisticated attack on the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

Google have explained their new position on China in a lengthy blog post on the official Google blog. Here are some of the core messages from the post:

In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident–albeit a significant one–was something quite different.

…we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down, and potentially our offices in China

The announcement has prompted a response from the Chinese government, who says they welcome foreign companies in China, as long as they abide with local censorship laws.

The decision could have a massive impact on the Chinese search market, which is the world’s largest with 338 million users. While Google does not have a majority market share in the country (Baidu leads with 62%) the possible closure could have a far bigger impact on their internet economy as a whole.

“Among the four most-visited sites in the world are Google, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube,” says one blogger on “We Chinese have already lost the access to three of them, so Google’s disappearance is a tragedy. We are losing the most convenient and advanced communication tools. But where should we go if all the doors to the world are closed?”

What do you think of Google’s decision? Is their moral standing worth losing millions of dollars in revenue and users? Let us know via the comments below.

Matthew Elshaw Matt is a marketing professional at, an international search marketing firm. Matt's passion for online marketing began at university and has proved invaluable in steering product development and marketing initiatives at the company. Matt is a regular contributor to the ineedhits search marketing blog.

View Matthew Elshaw's profile

Discussion (5 - comments)

It’s such a huge decision from Google. I support what they are trying to achieve but what will their shareholders think?

By Pete - January 18, 2010

If the shareholders have any cojones, they will line up behind the decision to pull out of China and, in fact, goad management to do it now. This is not all about money. The internet has been the great leveler in recent decades. If the Chinese succeed in censoring content to their population, where does it end? Seig Heil mein Furher? Is this Chrystalnacht for the new millenium?

By Bill DeGrosky - January 19, 2010

Those hackker must be so genius to attack google security

By bob of Indonesia - January 20, 2010

[...] is the original post: Google Threatens to Quit China after Cyber Attacks | ineedhits Share and [...]

By Google Threatens to Quit China after Cyber Attacks | ineedhits | Drakz Free Online Service - January 30, 2010

[...] made international headlines earlier this year when they announced plans to leave China after an attack on the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. In response, Google [...]

By What’s the Current Situation Between Google and China? | ineedhits - May 17, 2010

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