Google Outage Shows Risk of Doing Business In China


Hugh Pickens writes writes “The WSJ reports that widespread disruptions to Google in China over the weekend halting use of everything from Google’s search engine to its Gmail email service to its Google Play mobile-applications store underscore the uncertainty surrounding Beijing’s effort to control the flow of information into the country, as well as the risks that effort poses to the government’s efforts to draw global businesses.The source of the disruptions couldn’t be determined but Internet experts pointed to China’s Internet censorship efforts, which have been ratcheted up ahead of the 18th Party Congress. ‘There appears to be a throttling under way of Web access,’ says David Wolf, citing recent articles in foreign media about corruption and wealth in China spurred by the party congress and the fall of former party star Bo Xilai, ‘that’s their primary concern, people getting news either through Google or through its services.’ Beijing risks a backlash if it were to block Google outright on a long-term basis, says Wolf and such a move could put Beijing in violation of its free-trade commitment under the World Trade Organization and make China a less-attractive place to do business. ‘If China insists in the medium and long term of creating another Great Firewall between the China cloud and the rest of the world, China will be an increasingly untenable place to do business.'”


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