How do I access Google in China

Google is pushing back to China

With more than 750 million users, the Chinese internet market is huge and lucrative. According to a report, the American technology company Google is developing a version of its search engine tailored to the needs of Chinese censors in order to return to China.

Eight years ago, Google, the world's leading search engine on the Internet, left China at the urging of the US government and human rights organizations. Since then, Google in China, like many other common websites in the rest of the world, only has access if you overcome the Chinese "Great Firewall" with the Virtual Private Network (VPN). At the American technology company, however, a rethink has begun, as a report on the site "The Intercept" shows. Google then developed a censored version of the search engine that was tailor-made for the Chinese market as part of a project with the code word “Dragonfly”. It should only be available as an application for the Android operating system. The reason for this lies in the structure of the Chinese Internet market: 95 percent of the more than 750 million users access the network with mobile devices. And 90 percent of them rely on the Android operating system.

"It will set a terrible precedent for many other companies who are still trying to do business in China while maintaining the principles of not succumbing to China’s censorship." https://t.co/6SGORBa493pic.twitter.com/6M9Qu3g1iT

- The Intercept (@theintercept) August 1, 2018

Kowtow outside Beijing

The tricky thing about the project is that Google is throwing itself in the dust in front of the rulers in Beijing when developing the China-specific search engine. So only those pages should be presented in the search results that are not blocked by the Chinese censors. In addition, the search for terms that are tricky from the Communist Party's point of view should not yield any results. In other words, the Chinese will not get any responses from the Chinese Google search engine if they enter terms like "human rights", "Tiananmen 1989" or "Pooh Bear"; for the latter, because his physiognomy resembles party and state leader Xi Jinping.

"It will be a dark day for internet freedom if @Google has acquired to China’s extreme censorship rules .... https://t.co/gUoUFB011m

- Patrick Poon☘️ 潘嘉偉 (@patrickpoon) August 1, 2018

The outraged reactions from the western world to the US company's plan were not long in coming. Patrick Poon, who follows events on the mainland for the human rights organization Amnesty International from Hong Kong, said it would be a black day for internet freedom if Google complied with China's extreme censorship requirements to gain access to the Chinese market . Google would set a sobering precedent and give the Chinese government a victory, said Poon.

How Google will react to the publication of “The Intercept” remains to be seen. According to the website, only a few hundred employees should be involved in the project. One of them turned to «The Intercept» out of concerns about the development. One reason for Google's change in strategy is likely to be the huge and lucrative Chinese market with its hundreds of millions of Internet users. Whether the US search engine could be successful in China is another matter. In the Asian country, the Baidu search engine is mainly used; the group recently presented its figures for the second quarter of the current year. Thereafter, Baidu's sales increased by 32 percent to 26 billion yuan (around 3.8 billion Swiss francs) compared to the same period last year. It is questionable whether users will be willing to change their search behavior because of the re-entry of Google.

Rethinking the CEO

The Americans keep emphasizing that they never really left China even after 2010. In recent years, Google has always been present with a sales team to open up the foreign advertising market to Chinese customers. The US technology group currently has four offices in China with more than 600 employees. The aim of this is to improve the exchange with Google's business partners, according to the Americans.

The fact that Google is toying with a return to China became obvious when CEO Sundar Pichai took office in October 2015 at the latest. At a conference in June 2016, he said they wanted to be in China and serve Chinese users. In the past few months, Google has pulled out all the stops to highlight its presence in the Asian country. In addition to the opening of a fourth representative office in the southern Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen, Chinese users can now download applications such as the Files Go file manager, the Snapseed photo editor and Google Translate. In addition, the Americans have also made some strategic investments. Google invested $ 500 million in e-commerce company JD.com; Funds also flowed into the biotech startup XtalPi. And a research center was opened in Beijing to exchange ideas with the Chinese in the field of artificial intelligence. China is one of the world's leading nations in areas such as artificial intelligence, big data and e-commerce.

According to "The Intercept", a visit by the Google boss to China in December last year opened the door wide for the search engine. Like the head of Apple, Tim Cook, Pichai appeared at the World Internet Conference, which China has hosted annually since 2014, which earned them great criticism in the western world. In December 2017, Pichai is said to have met Wang Huning, who, as a member of the seven-person Standing Committee of the Politburo, is one of China's closest circles of power. Since that meeting, the censored search engine project for China has gained momentum. It is said to have already been demonstrated to leading Chinese politicians and should be ready to go in six to nine months.

The open question, however, is whether China will be willing to make such concessions to a US tech company because of the trade conflict with America. In any case, this is indicated by a denial on the part of the Chinese.