Monday, January 18, 2010

Google in China

The current discussion about Google China fascinates me. I was in Shanghai just before the end of the year speaking on Innovation and Change. I had links in my presentation to YouTube videos. The links didn't work because about a year ago the Chinese government stopped YouTube because of viewings of a dissident.

When you go to Google in China you're actually on Google.China . This is a limited version of the search engine we use everyday. Google is thinking of shutting down Google.China. Google says it's too restrictive; but maybe it's just that Google isn't making money. It has 35% market share against China's homegrown search engine, Baidu.

Television programming is filtered as well. I was in China during the Copenhagen conference on the environment. What I heard about events and results on Chinese TV doesn't square with what I've been learning since I returned.

What strikes me is that these restrictions on information do not align with the economy and the people I worked with.

I worked with entrepreneurs. People who understood capitalism as well as we do. They have ideas, they know how to find investments, and they are winners. Sooner, rather than later, the restrictions on information are going to come up against these vibrant business people.

It will be interesting to see how China responds. Will the politics of information give way to global economics?

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