Google's Schmidt: We want to stay in China
Google CEO Eric Schmidt said yesterday that the U.S. search giant hopes to maintain business in China. The remarks, made during an earnings conference call to analysts, came nine days after the company threatened to leave China over claims that cyber attackers had hacked into the e-mail accounts of human rights activists. Earlier in the day, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called for a global uncensored Internet and demanded that the Chinese government investigate Google's claims. Check out the story about Clinton's speech in the paper today.
Google had said it would stop censoring search results, going against the Chinese government's demands. Schmidt said in the call that Google continues to censor search results but in a "reasonably short time from now" it would stop.
"We have made a strong statement that we wish to remain in China," Schmidt said. "We like the Chinese people, we like our Chinese employees and we like the business opportunities there. And we'd like to do that on somewhat different terms than we've had. We remain quite committed to being there."
Earlier in the day, Clinton called on China to thoroughly investigate Google's claims of China's cyber attacks and to make its review transparent.
"Censorship should not be in any way accepted by any company from anywhere,” Clinton said in her speech. “And in America, American companies need to make a principled stand. This needs to be part of our national brand. I’m confident that consumers worldwide will reward companies that follow those principles.”
Immediately after Google threatened on Jan. 12 to leave China over potential human rights violations and censorship, businesses, U.S. lawmakers, public interest groups and newspaper columnists hailed the company. The move was described as a groundbreaking decision by a private firm to stand up against a nation with a record of human rights violations.
Google said in a statement yesterday in response to Clinton's speech:
"At Google we are great believers in the value to society of unfettered access to information."
-- With contributions from Bloomberg News
photo credit: Wired
January 22, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
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