TMTpost: Can Google Have Easy Ride Back Into China?
If Google is indeed willing to head back to China, then Google will be able to fight for a share in one of the largest markets around the world, while mainland Chinese netizens will also have more choices. But can Google have easy ride back into China?
According to Weibo user @Feilong GOR, Google servers have been moved to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The Internet protocol addresses of the servers showed that Google was using an Internet service provider named “Beijing Google Telecom”.
However, when I tried to access “google.cn”, I found that as of Wednesday, Oct.14, Google Translation, the browser version of Google Maps and its Google Earth software could partially be accessed in Beijing, while other Google-owned products, such as its search engine, cloud storage, photo albums, were still inaccessible.
Nevertheless, Google seems to be taking small steps to head back to China. For example, most of Google’s mobile apps are already available for download in mainland China via the Chinese version of Google’s App Store. On October 11, Oasis Feng, a well-known Android app developer and developer of Greenify, said on his Twitter account that: “Users don’t have to install a customized ROM before downloading Google’s other apps and can now download Android’s apps directly.”
He added that Google pre-installed a simplified Google Play AOK (Version: 7.8; Size: 20M+) in the Chinese version Android Wear’s controlling app, so that users an enjoy Google’s services (including GCM, Google Maps, Google Pay, etc.) simply via one app.
Still, I don’t think Google will have easy ride back into China, especially its search engine service, since I can never forget why Google left mainland China five years ago.
Google started to provide search service for Chinese-speaking users in September 2000, but largely pulled its services out of China in March 2010 after refusing to continue self-censoring its search results. From then on, mainland Chinese users could only access Google via Google’s Hong Kong server, so many users began to find that searching on Google became pretty slow and oftentimes they couldn’t have access to Google at all.
Based on open data, we found that shortly before Google left China, that was, in the 4th quarter of 2009, Google ranked the second and grabbed 35.6% share of the Chinese search market, followed by Sougou (1.0%), SoSo (0.7%), ZhongSou (0.6%), while Baidu topped the list and accounted for 58.4% share of the market. If Google hadn’t left China, it would have taken accounted for a huge share of the Chinese market up till now.
However, during these five years, the mainland Chinese search market has changed a lot. Statistics suggest that Baidu, 360 Search and Sougou took up 98% share of this market, with the maximum market share of Baidu, 360 Search and Sougou hitting 57.51%, 30.47% and 15.98%.
The Chinese market is quite different from the Indian one since there is no predominant player in the Chinese market. Instead, several search service providers all have grabbed a share of the market. Google, however, is the dominant search service provider almost in every other market around the world: India (95%-97%), Australia (93%), Thailand (97%), Vietnam (96%), etc. and is constantly facing charges for monopoly and copyright infringement. As is said by Jerome in his article “Why Is Google Besieged On All Sides?”:
“Competition in the Chinese search market is benign, so no search service provider can dominate here and grab over 90% or 97% share of the market.”
If Google is indeed willing to head back to China, then Google will be able to fight for a share in one of the largest markets around the world, while mainland Chinese netizens will also have more choices.
But can Google have easy ride back into China?
[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @TMTpost-Chinese, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Originally published at www.tmtpost.com.