The deafening silence from US corporations underscores how increasingly isolated Google looks in its hope to rewrite the rules in the country with the biggest number of internet users. And it is notable that in Thailand, where there is also strict internet censorship, there has so far not been a peep out of Google. Or, indeed, anyone else.
There are a lot of blogs which support Google in its action of closing down in China. But only one internet company so far, GoDaddy.com, the internet domain name and web-hosting company, has followed Google’s lead in protesting Chinese policies. It said that it would no longer register domain names in China because of new rules requiring it to collect customers’ photos.
The action by GoDaddy, which has not been known in the past for taking a strong stance on internet freedom, contrasts sharply with the modest responses from other companies. Indeed, it could be argued that the move by GoDaddy is simply because the new rules make its business technically very difficult.
Microsoft, Yahoo and others have trumpeted the general principles of internet freedom, but none have directly echoed Google’s call for an end to web censorship in China.
Google’s difficulty in enlisting allies could hint at the challenges ahead for it in China, where organizing broad support has in the past proved to be an effective tool for negotiating with the government.
Analysts estimate Google’s China business is a modest 1 to 2% of its $6.5 billion in annual net profit.
New York Times reported Bobby Chao, a managing director at the China-focused venture capital firm DFJ DragonFund China, as saying Google’s public confrontation with China had created a negative brand image among many Chinese that could jeopardize the company’s other business prospects in the country.
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