Google versus China

Widely reported, Google has postponed the launch of its phone in China this week after experiencing coordinated cyber attacks aimed at accessing the cloud-held Gmail accounts belonging to Chinese human rights activists.

The ongoing issue of Internet censorship and email hacking has caused the company to pull the planned launch ceremony for the Nexus One and to announce that it will stop censoring search results from its engine. Google sounds like it means business and said it may even close the site and shut down its Chinese office entirely.

About 30% of Chinese search engine traffic is Googled. Local rival Baidu carry 60% and were quick to denounce Google’s position as financially motivated. "What Google said makes me sick" blogged the chief architect of Baidu, "If you are to quit for the sake of financial interest, then just say it".

Google bosses remain upbeat about their chance to encourage the Chinese government to loosen restrictions on free expression and information sharing. Chinese officials have so far avoided direct confrontation, but many statements issued echo the Party line that all companies, including Google must follow the nation’s stringent censorship laws.

The stakes are high for Google as the outcome will greatly influence whether Android powered phones will have a place in the world's largest phone market.

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