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March 2010



It is important for a company to stand by their core values. If Google believes in freedom of information, and China forbids that, then Google is doing the right thing. They have started the movement for freedom of information in China and are slowly pulling out. Such a bold move will draw attention from the public eye. People will respect a company that stands up for what it believes in. I also believe that by standing up for freedom of information, something America values, they will increase their loyalty of American customers and perhaps gain new ones. By sticking to their core beliefs and pulling out of China they may experience the initial loss of income, but in the long run they will be better for it. People will respect Google for this choice as long as it is publicized correctly.




阿彌陀佛 無相佈施


之為腥。所謂「葷腥」即這兩類的合稱。 葷菜
(重定向自五辛) 佛家五葷



興渠另說為洋蔥。) 肉 蛋 奶?!

念楞嚴經 *∞窮盡相關 消去無關 證據 時效 念阿彌陀佛往生西方極樂世界

不婚 不生子女 生生世世不當老師

log 二0.3010 三0.47710.48 五0.6990 七0.8451 .85
root 二1.414 1.41 三1.732 1.73五 2.236 2.24七 2.646
=>十3.16 π∈Q' 一點八1.34

medieval costumes

if they are not winning, then they could just transfer to a place where they could be number 1.. :)


It is no surprise I would agree with your assessment on this, Laura, but I would not flat out state they were not first without backing up the consumer black box battle, or you will get justifiably clarified by Joshua Payton. The fact is that they are making a Branding statement in China - just like Tylenol did in the 80's - by not being on the shelf. Google can remain top of mind with good PR on its market (i.e. The Internet). In this way, it can be argued that Google has not left the Chinese market actually but have taken a strong defensive position on/with the market. With careful planning and execution, plunging Asian ad revenue does not have to be a foregone conclusion. So, from my perspective, rather than leaving the battle/market, Google is applying the strategic advice of Sun Tsu, to remain out of reach from the larger opponent to engage in guerilla hit and run (no pun intended). It is a wise move for long-term company prospects and short term negative financial impacts can be contained.

As Soydanbay points out, in a great many ways, The Internet is a physical market unto itself and not just a medium. It has become the message! That is what Google is banking on and I think they'll come out a winner.

IMHO, expect increased market share from 12% as an ROI outcome when the dust settles next two quarters (if they execute PR well in mainstream Chinese media).

medieval costume

Seems like a good decision. I can't believe that google just gets 12% and baidu almost 80%.

Joshua Payton

There is a distinction between search engines and directories. In the minds of the consumer, Google was never 1st when it came to finding information on the internet. There were lots of directories before Google (Alta Vista/Yahoo!). Google was first to stick strictly to searches in a format that was clean, uncluttered and highly focused. In this sense, Google can be said to have been a new product category for the internet, and the first of its kind in many places.

I think the analysis is correct. In particular, Google embraces a "do no evil" mission statement. Pulling out of China on ethical grounds would be a windfall to the Google brand here in the states and elsewhere. Though, that move doesn't make much short term business sense.


I like that you think. Thank you for share very much.

Erik Johnson

For the sake of freedom maybe Ries & Ries should leave China as well and open a west coast location in Scottsdale...just a thought.


Hi Laura,

Good post yet I am curious to know how Google is the first in every other market that you mentioned? Before Google there was Yahoo, before Yahoo there was Altavista. The list goes on.
Trout-Ries' first-to-the-category does not work in online world, where memory span is much shorter.
Other than that, good post. I support Google's decision.
Gunter Soydanbay
Brand Strategy Consultant

Daniel Cohen

Baidu is a ripoff of Google anyway. Google was SOL because of the lack of intellectual copyright in China. I find this as a red flag for all of those who have pointed to the "modernization" of China. Talk about a front. Fancy tech does not always indicate that society has advanced in all respects. Google made the right move.

Alan S. Michaels

Thank you for your most interesting article about China and Google.

Regarding your comment about the U.S., that "Freedom, democracy and free markets are our core values." .... I sure hope that's still true.

Jatin Modi

Excellent analysis Al!
Either way with these brilliant standpoints, in the long run, I would be ready to stick my head out and suggest that Google is on the long road to global domination.

My respect for them just increased.

Stephen Denny

Your first reason was the best. Google was losing so badly to Baidu that removing itself under the guise of the political high road was most probably the best face-saving means they had.

And Baidu won for all the right reasons: they won a branded battle for the hearts and minds of the exploding Internet market in the mid- to smaller metro areas by doing all the things that smart brands do, from deadly effective advertising to full court press ad sales development to developing the right products for the market. It didn't hurt that Google also made significant errors - like having a company and brand name that most Chinese consumers couldn't spell.

I think Google's retreat is more business than principle - and this will not, in the long run, be seen as a good thing for them.

Erik Johnson

Good analysis and a smart move for Google.

The Chicoms have a brilliant strategy...stall successful US companies while local Chinese companies copy their idea and business model and get in the mind first.

Google hates being #2 in anything.

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