Google 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 decided to close their Google.cn domain and redirect users to Hong Kong servers at Google.com.hk.
In recent months we haven’t heard much of an update on the situation in China, but now Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt has reported that the situation “seems to be stable”. Here’s what Schmidt had to say in a recent Bloomberg article:
“We maintain our business relationships and our engineering centers in China,” “Should the Chinese government become upset with us, become further upset with us, or what have you, they do have the ability to change this outcome.”
Google has said that they will continue to sell ads in China while avoiding censorship regulations by redirecting users to Hong Kong servers. The Chinese government does have the ability to block access to the Hong Kong site which would shut down Google searches from China completely.
Most believe that if the government decides to take this approach, it will force Google’s hand into leaving the country for good. The alternative outcome is that Google and China reach an agreement over censorship, but based on responses from both sides this seems very unlikely.
What do you think? Will Google leave China for good or is the current agreement likely to last for a while?