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The purpose of this study was to investigate the crisis of Google Company in china, the causes of the crises and what was done to overcome the crises. This involved investigating how online companies do business in the people’s republic of China. This was achieved through studying business journals and related books to understand the background of Google, its mission, and challenges it faced in China and how it overcame them.  It was found out that to do business in China, any online company need to censor some websites and even block others completely. The study of Google in china revealed that the company was censored severally and even completely blocked at some instance and had to reach at a compromise so as to operate in China, or quit. The main conclusion was that doing online in China required caution on sensitive websites which the Government felt that they were a threat to the people. By abiding to these conditions, Google later found its way to Beijing and competing well with other search engines in China.

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Google, the world largest search engine, has experienced tremendous growth since its introduction to the internet back in 1998 (Virginia, 2008). Google has faced many challenges in china’s people republic due to conflict with china’s government. Some of these problems were due to the content of information made available to the public and controlling data flow. Censorship restrictions have seen the company blocked in the country for a number of times and on compliance to these terms. The company has been sued in America on claims of blocking individuals or corporate entities from internet users in china.


Google in China


To operate in china, Google had to comply with Chinese government censorship regulations. This decision was arrived at as a response to the recent refusal to provide the United States government with user information on a case against child phonography. The company’s announcement restricted press and human rights organizations making them accuse Google of going against its principles in its profit making pursuits (Clive, 2006).

Google has been in a tag of war between operating inside China and the outside world. Press in the US and the developed world heaped accusations and criticism against Google over its credibility to be relied upon in giving precise and accurate information on personal data including search topics. Inside china and elsewhere on the contrary, Wall Street continued to reward the embattled company with an impressive record of increased share price postings, posed the question whether the pursuit of profit making in the developing world demands the need for ethics and values in business operations. (Virginia, 2008)

To arrive at this, Google had gone through complete metamorphosis in china’s soil. In china, internet censorship is presented as a benevolent police function. This is carried out by two cyber corps, “Jingjing” and “Chacha”, whereby, each had a blog and a chat window where china people could interact with them. They both acted as an intermediate which publicly reminded all citizens using the internet that they need have knowledge of safe and secure internet content and regulate themselves on their online behavior and maintain harmony in internet use altogether (Clive, 2006).

Intimidation and self-regulation are the most critical factors considered when a country or a region communicates its censorship to a private-sector internet company like Google. To be given a go ahead to offer its internet services, Google like any other private company must sign a license agreement accepting to abide to a set of rules and regulations. For this matter, Google had to agree not to circulate contents on certain subjects, including materials that damage, in full or in parts, the honor or interests of the state. The material should also not disturb the public order or destroy public stability.

In addition, the contents should not infringe upon national habits and customs. One of these prohibitions in china is the mention or clearly or direct mention of evil cult or superstition in reference to Falun Gong, although the most part of the language is internationally vague. These regulations leaves a wide boundary of discretion for any minor or official in china’s regulatory committee to demand that something he or she has come across in the internet is offensive and therefore, need be taken offline (Clive, 2006).

Although Baidu was a preference to the majority of young mp3 hunters in china, Google’s popularity grew in a different perspective and set. It targeted white collar urban professionals in Chinese major cities, the type of those who follow western styles and use sprinkle English words in a conversation. This target group considers itself being cosmopolitan rather than nationalistic. By focusing on that audience, Google had achieved a great level of success, strong enough to elude Yahoo by the end of the year 2002. Twenty five percent of all search traffic in china was dominated by Google. This was achieved while Google operated in California, miles away from Chinese government region of influence.

On September 2002, Chinese workers arrived on their places of work with amusement, Google had vanished and the site was down with an error message on its homepage. The Chinese government had blocked china the government uses two methods to censor internet contents. One method is the use of Broad array of threats and penalties, that forces a company to keep its contents clean, and the other method is applying the great firewall of china. The first method applies to companies operating inside Chinese soil whereas; the great firewall of china is used for companies operating outside the Chinese territory like Google.

Google further posed a great challenge for the censor; the company did not have an office inside the country. Therefore, the Chinese government had no legal authority over it, the government did not have the ability to demand Google withdraw its search result from Chinese internet users. On the other hand, the firewall worked halfway in Google’s case. It could block sites which Google pointed to but, it could not block search results from being displayed. The displayed results also included banned sites (Stone, 2010).

For instance, an internet user in shanghai china searching for “human rights in China” on would get a list of results that included human rights in china, “”, a new york based organization whose website is banned in china. But trying to follow the link, “” the user would get an error message display and the firewall would block the page. In other words, you could see the banned sites but, you could not reach or follow them. Due to its popularity, Google was reluctant to entirely block these sites from reaching Chinese internet users. Chinese citizens continued to receive frequent reminders stating that their leaders felt threatened by some certain subjects. Google was entirely blocked.

This blocking ended after two weeks but with some serious troubles. The great firewall slowed down all traffic coming from outside china. This made Google unavailable for fifteen percent of the entire time, in actual sense (Stone, 2010). Google was unavailable to china people simply because of data jams. Curious minds were not spared; trying to search for banned sites brought more problems the firewall would send a command that would trickle the user to believe that Google itself had collapsed. For some few minutes, the user could not load Google web page

This was a digital blow for Google, these delays and shutdowns were a major problem. Any search engine like giving a time limit of a few milliseconds to deliver results on clicking the search button. Google’s major Chinese language rival, Baidu, was running smoothly without such problems. This is because it served within the Chinese soil, meaning it was inside the firewall perimeter. During this period china’s university students experienced a major setback; they had no access to foreign web sites (Stone, 2010)

Google executives were only left with two options, neither of which was favorable on their side. One was to remain aloof and continue operating its Chinese site entirely from foreign soil and risk loss of its market share to Baidu and other Chinese search engines due to slowdowns from the firewall and further blockades. The other choice was to relocate to a Chinese office inside Chinese territory where it would no longer fight to get past the firewall and speed up its services but more still be subjected to China’s self-censorship laws (Clive, 2006).

This meant that Google had to censor politically aggressive websites, democracy groups, religious groups, pornographic sites and memorials of the Tiananmen Square massacre. According to Brin, this was a very small percentage of what Chinese population would be in dear need for. In fact Google would still contribute in enlightening Chinese citizens by improving Chinese citizens’ ability to learn about AIDS, environmental problems, avian flu, and world markets. Brin thought t would take years for Google to make much if any profit whilst in china. This implied that going into China was not as much a business decision as a decision about getting people informed. With this in place, Google executives decided to reach a compromise and headed towards china (Chao, 2010).

To reach at this compromise, they decided not to go the yahoo or Microsoft way; they did not offer email or blogging services. They also replaced the existing unfiltered Chinese language version with, where the results were to be censored by Google, and arrive faster, reliably and not slowed by the firewall. That is how Google settled its battle with the Chinese government and found its roots firmly into Chinese soil (Clive, 2006).


Google started operating in china in 1999 and was first censored in January 2002, and continued operating on and off until a compromised was reached at, in 2005 (Chao, 2010). The main reasons of its censor were exposing Chinese people to banned sites like “human rights in China” pornographic sites among others. Google reached a compromise by censoring banned sites in 2005, introduced in January 2006 (Clive, 2006). Since then, Google has contributed quite a great deal in development to Chinese people by offering its people to do research on all main aspects of life.

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