Many China commenters have given their verdicts about what the departure of Google’s search engine from China means. Here a short overview of what the members of the China Speakers Bureau had to say in the past few days.
Kaiser Kuo, a Beijing-based technology writer, said what happens next is important. If China’s official reaction is “kept to the level of a few indignant editorials upbraiding Google for failing to live up to its written promises and goes no further, then I think we can assume that Google.com will remain unblocked.”
“Clearly, the best-case outcome would be one in which Beijing accepts this new status quo,” said Kuo. “Obviously they’re not going to announce that this is their plan. They’ll just declare victory and let things be, not blocking Google.com.hk and not drumming Google out of China entirely.”
But, Kuo said, if the situation worsens, “Beijing could still very well make things more difficult — blocking, torpedoing Google business with mobile carriers and handset makers, et cetera.”
“If people can use overseas services, the impact will not be that great,” said Jeremy Goldkorn, founder of the Chinese media site Danwei.org.
“If the filtering increases in any way from the past, it is going to be a problem because none of the Chinese search engines are good at searching the international Internet in English. That is going to impact anyone who relies on that,” Goldkorn said.
Reuters: (in the understatement of the year)
Kaiser Kuo, an independent technology commentator based in Beijing, expects advertising revenue from China to be soft for this period as advertisement resellers would not want to make advertising budget decisions with so much uncertainty.
“[The internet in China] is becoming more like an echo chamber,” said Jeremy Goldkorn, founder of media and advertising website Danwei.org. “It is one step closer to this word … Chinternet — or the Chinese Internet becoming more like an Intranet.”
“The Google affair is both catalyst and evidence of change,’’ said Arthur Kroeber, managing director of Dragonomics, a Beijing economics firm. “We are at a turning point. It had been very, very unusual for foreign business to say anything too negative about China, because the opportunities here were too large.”
“There actually isn’t that big a difference in terms of getting information,” said Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group in Shanghai.
“When (Chinese web users) click on those sensitive links, it hits the firewall.”
All quoted experts are also speakers at the China Speakers Bureau. When you need them at your conference, do get in touch.