Mar 242010

Not to belabor the issue, but conflict continues over Google’s decision to end censorship and operate on servers located in Hong Kong.

The conflict highlights censorship under Chinese law and illustrates problems Western companies face doing business in China. It also showcases why many US companies do business with Chinese interests via intermediaries in Hong Kong, where there is less government control, more openness, and greater legal protection for foreign interests.

Watching how Google’s decision impacts Chinese free speech (if any) and international business practices is fascinating. However, Western business dissatisfaction with China is not a new development. A new report suggests that American businesses feel they are unfairly treated by the Chinese government. Now Dell is reportedly following Google and leaving China in favor of operations in India.

In the coming months, more American companies will likely change their business practices when operating in China, but I am not optimistic that much will improve for companies doing business in China.

In the meantime, the Chinese public is still deprived of this web treasure.

UPDATE: The New York Times provides continuing coverage.

UPDATE II: San Francisco Bay Area firms pull out of Congressional hearing on China. More here.

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