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Google's China move followed by ... hardly anyone else

Google’s announcement last week that it was shutting down its China Web search site has been largely followed by silence from the U.S. high-tech industry.

Two domain name registrars – companies that host Web sites in China – announced similar moves. Go Daddy said it would stop taking new accounts on its .cn domain business. Well before Google's announcement, Network Solutions said it would reroute traffic to Hong Kong, effectively shutting down its China-based site.

But otherwise, most American businesses say they are committed to freedom of expression online but have largely stayed their course.

Intel said it isn’t changing business plans in China. Microsoft, which competes in the search market there with Bing, is staying too: “As we continue to offer a global search service, we regularly communicate with governments, including the Chinese, to advocate for free expression, transparency and the rule of law. We will continue to do so,” said spokeswoman Christina Pearson.

Other companies said they don’t have operations to shut down, though some say they count Chinese citizens as users or have stakes in online businesses based there. Yahoo said that after it sold its China business in 2005 to Alibaba, it gave up operational control over the search business there. It still retains 39 percent stake in Alibaba. AOL also said it no longer has operations in China and that they shut down their Hong Kong business last January as part of their overall corporate restructuring. Facebook doesn’t have employees in China, nor does it run servers there. But it does have a large number of Chinese and is regularly censored by the Chinese government.

Google has attracts kudos from newspaper editorial pages, like The Post, for taking a stand against censorship by the Chinese government. It is also losing mobile, software and other partners in China for its decision.

By Cecilia Kang  |  March 29, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Google , International  
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Comments

Why and how to follow someone who has never stopped business in CHina, while his exit was totally caused by his CEO Kaifu Lee's departure 5 months ago, which made market share dropped from 32% to 25%. Five of of Google invested companies are still operating in CHina while headquarter moved to Hongkong which is also China. It's economy stupid!

Posted by: eastman1 | March 29, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Wait and see what other big US companies will do next, check the following big names: AIG, IBM, Boeing, GE, GM, Ford, Walmart, Cocacola, McDonald's, CNN, NBA, Morgan Stanley, IBM, Goldman Sachs, P&G, Quancomm, Cisco, Lucent, Emerson, CaterPiller, Motorola, ...

Will McDonald's and Cocacola close its china business, because of the censorship of Internet there? My suggestion: do'nt hold your breath, man. :)

Posted by: howardxue | March 29, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Other domain registrars, like EnCirca.com are still processing .cn domain name registrations for businesses and trademark owners outside of China.

The new requirement to submit a business license to protect their trademarks is not much of a burden.

Posted by: washingtonpost57 | March 29, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

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