After CEO Sundar Pichai’s statement, will Google never enter the Chinese market? - Letsdiskuss
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Jessy Chandra

Fashion enthusiast | Posted 12 Dec, 2018 |

After CEO Sundar Pichai’s statement, will Google never enter the Chinese market?

Preeti Taneja

Entrepreneur | Posted 12 Dec, 2018

Google, or its parent company Alphabet Inc, is a profit-making institute. While it does wear the mask of “helping” and “making the world a better place” very well, under the rug, it works to make profits and keep the investors happy. And that’s OKAY. It’s not a charity after all.

sundar-pichai-dragon-fly-letsdiskuss (Courtesy: Toronto Star)

That being said, one cannot take what CEO Sundar Pichai said in front of the U.S. Congressional Panel at face value. Yes, while said that the company has “no plans” to enter the Chinese market, it’s hard to believe that. Only a few months back, reports and rumors were on rife that Google is working on a search engine specially designed for the Chinese market. Called ‘Project Dragonfly’, that search engine, reportedly, would pack higher level of censorship and would function around the framework provided by the Chinese government—a government known to stifle voices, suppress the masses and maintain close surveillance of the citizens.

sundar-pichai-dragon-fly-letsdiskuss (Courtesy: New York Post)

Even CEO Sundar Pichai himself admitted in the hearing of the existence of such project. He said, “we’ve had the project underway for a while. At one point, we’ve had over 100 people working on it in my understanding.” He also admitted that the company is studying the idea of introducing a search engine for the Chinese market. But he maintained that “right now, there are no plans to launch a search in China.” (Pay heed to “right now”.)

sundar-pichai-dragon-fly-letsdiskuss (Courtesy: NDTV)

The Chinese government is leaned towards authoritarianism. It openly sensor voices that are against its will. Free and transparent internet has been absent in the country for years. Google made an exit from the Chinese market in 2010. Understand, if any internet company wants to get clearance in China, it has to agree with the government there with its stance on censorship and surveillance. If Google wants its search engine there, it has to agree to the undemocratic terms of an authoritarian government. And it is something that the company, for obvious reasons, has denied to do in public. BUT then why was it working on “Project Dragonfly”?

CEO Sundar Pichai, in the hearing, said: “our core mission is to provide users access to information and getting access to information is an important human right.” One of these days, he and other western countries need to realize that people in China are decently smart. Millions of them already access google and other censored websites through VPNs. So, many of them already have “access to information”.

Bottom line: China has the highest number of Smartphone users in the world. It is too profitable for a market to overlook and leave out. Yes, the CEO of Google has said that the company has no plans to launch in China. Don’t take that as something permanent. Things can change.