Google China Moved To Its New Headquarters: A Fresh Start?
Although we can’t tell for sure what the new headquarter means for Google China, it is worth mentioning that a staff at Google China quoted the last sentence of The Great Gatsby to show his expectation towards the future of Google China: So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
On July, 14th, 2016, a special party was held at Kejian Office Building, celebrating leaving the decade-long Google China’s old headquarter to to the new one at Raycom Info Tech Park, which is actually not far from the old one. It is expected that Google China will fully move to the new headquarter by August, 1st.
According to an engineer at Google China, Zehong Zhao, general manager of Google China Research & Development Center and the very person who’s in charge of the move, also attended the party. However, Scott Beaumont, the incumbent president of Google China, didn’t show up.
Kaifu Lee, former president of Google China, as well as Xuemei Gu, former vice director of Google China Research and Development Center, were invited to the party. The headquarter, located at Tsinghua Science Park, was put into use by Google China since September, 4th, 2006. On August, 1s, however, the headquarter will officially become the “old” one.
Google China said goodby to its old headquarter
Before 2006, Google China’s headquarter was based in New China Insurance Tower for a short while. On September, 4th, Google China officially moved to Kejian Office Building, Zhongguancun, Beijing, covering an area of 1,4000 square meters. The following next decade witnessed the ups and downs of Google in China.
The 10-storey Kejian Office Building can accommodate in total over 1,000 people and its decoration style is very typical of Google. There’s a well-known Google Dining Hall at the ground floor, as well as Rest Rooms, Coffee Bars, Gym Rooms and Message Rooms in all the rest floors. In addition, snacks and fruits are provided anytime, anywhere in the building.
A billboard with Google’s old logo (of the old font) and the Chinese character for Google can be found on top of the Kejian Office Building. Obviously, Google didn’t update the logo after renewing its logo in 2015. However, Google did renew the logo in front of the building, but the Chinese characters for “China” and “Google” were removed.
According to an insider, although Google downsized the China team after withdrawing its search engine service in mainland China, it maintained a team of over 100 people, consisting mainly R&D engineers and marketing personnel. In addition, it was confirmed that only three to four floors of Raycom Info Tech Park were rented by Google as the new headquarter of Google China.
The new headquarter, closer of the North Fourth Ring than the old one, will be put in use on August, 1st. However, the straight-line distance between the old and the new headquarter was less than one kilometers.
To usher in fresh air?
It was said that Google decided to move the China headquarter because it wanted to adopt a new style of decoration. “Although the decoration in the Kejian Office Building is good enough, it’s already old-fashioned. To adopt the new decoration style, we decided it was time to move to a new place,” an insider told Sina Tech.
A former Google R&D engineer at Google China indicated that the move might demonstrate Google China’s willingness to say goodbye to the past. After all, the past decade witnessed so many historic events in Google China’s old headquarter. Maybe it is really the time to move on and usher in some fresh air. “Will people still pay tribute to Google by presenting flowers in front of Google China’s old headquarter?” the former engineer asked Sina Tech, jokingly?
However, the farewell party was not at all “solemn”. Instead, the party was filled with music, speeches and laughters, and people would all go around, took pictures in order to record the moment. Some passers-by were also attracted to the party. Kaifu Lee, former president of Google China, also attended the party, which was quite a surprise for many Google’s staff. It turned out that he became the person who was asked to take a picture with the most.
For them, it was Kaifu Lee who chose to move Google China’s headqurater to Kejian Office Building, and who chose “Gu Ge” as Google’s Chinese translation. Some engineers at the party suggested that although they’ve been very much attached to Kejian Office Building, they still looked forward to moving to the new headquarter.
After all, the decoration style there was more avant-garde, and the facilities more advanced. When asked if they believed that the new headquarter would usher in fresh air to Google China, they said that personally they did hope so, but declined to tell more about the management board’s attitude.
As a matter of fact, Sina Tech reported that Googles was looking for a new office place as early as November, 2015. At that time, it was said that Google was recruiting new engineers and marketing personnels, and might make some new moves. However, Google China officially denounced the rumor, saying that Google had always been operating in China, and the recruitment plan was part of its routine.
In January, 2016, Google China’s president reiterated that Google China had always been operating in the new year address. Although the speech kept many people wondering if Google would make some new moves in 2016, no substantial progress was made since then.
Google China’s recent development
It is worth mentioning that Google recently established another Google AdWords Experience Center in Shenzhen, the 8th in its kind (after Zhengzhou, Tianjin, Dalian, Shanghai, Guiyang, Changsha and Dongguan).
The center is dedicated to introducing to Chinese enterprises how to go abroad and improve turnover rate abroad by accurate advertising strategy. It was also reported that an audit ombudsman, State Council’s representative in SOEs to supervise the operation, also attended the opening ceremony of the center.
Moreover, Google revealed that even more Google AdWords Center would be established in Southeastern cities such as Guangzhou, Foshan and Zhongshan, targeting mainly foreign trade enterprises in this region.
Apart from exhibiting Google’s successful advertising strategies for Chinese enterprises, these centers also allow visitors to try using Google’s cutting-edge products, such as Google Watch, lithium-powered bicycles, tablet computer with the help of VPN tools, and keep update to the recent development of Google’s unmanned driving technology, etc.
However, it is no easy to find that Google has always been paying close attention to China’s market and developers. As a matter of fact, during the match between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol, Google appraoched Sina Tech several times, asking if Chinese people were concerned about that match, and was amazed at Chinese people’s enthusiasm and heated discussion on Sina Weibo.
According to Sina Weibo’s official statistics, over 190,000 posts were updated on Sina Weibo around the topic and the view times of the topic reached a staggering 320 million. After the match, Google announced that 60% of the audience who watched the match live were Chinese.
During this year’s Google I/O conference, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai sent his special regards to Chinese developers, saying that he was amazed that over one million Chinese watched the conference live.
Mr. Sundar even visited China after the match and had a meeting with top Chinese Go player Ke Jie. It was even said that Ke Jie would be AlphaGo’s next competitor, though AlphaGo’s developing team DeepMind soon denied the rumor.
To wrap up, although we can’t tell for sure what the new headquarter means for Google China, it is worth mentioning that a staff at Google China quoted the last sentence of The Great Gatsby to show his expectation towards the future of Google China:
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @Sina Tech, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.
Originally published at www.tmtpost.com.