Control over information access in a society is like control anything else, whether it is opium or food safety. Google's use of directing Google.cn users through to Google.co.hk is "fundamentally politically subversive," as Mr. David M. Lampton says. It an abuse of the principle that underlies Hong Kong's governance of "one country, two systems," (New York Times) and was an aggressive attack on Chinese sovereignty.
The counter-argument is that China should allow Google to keep its search engine open in Hong Kong so that Chinese mainlanders can have access to the breadth of information on par with what the rest of the world can access. This is the only way that China can engage in commerce with other countries. Google already posesses a third of China's search engine market share, and if Google just disappears, loyal Googlers will experience a setback in business operations. Google's exit from China could be a serious obstacle to the young, educated, and multilingual market that Google and no other major Chinese search engine provides. Web traffic in the region will gradually adjust to satisfy the interests of the burgeoning Chinese web market, since technology is a highly dynamic industry that can accept chagnes without stretching the limits of developers. Censorship can be an interim practice, lasting only as long as Google works with foreign governments. With $173.7 billion in market value (New York Times), Google has more potential to invest in innovation in foreign markets than literally any other internet company. While China's leading internet companies are widely used and quickly growing, they don't have the means to make it internationally. Google can be the Chinese people's gateway to further innovation as it expands to foreign markets. Google's entry into China is not a simple way to extract profits from China; it is a business opportunity for the Chinese people to expand and learn about other cultures.
'While Google is wondering "should I stay or should I go," another contender is waiting to take center stage with no foreign competition to challege it. It is called Baidu.com. A simple, search-oriented homepage closely resembles Google's. However, its stock market value -- even with a large share on the Chinese internet market -- amounts only to $21 billion (New York Times), a fraction of Google's international presence. Its growth was challenged by competition with Google since 2007, when China Mobile signed an exclusive deal with Google's search engine, but that all ended at the end of this March, as Google pushes against China's self-censorship practices. Online since 1999, Baidu is now the eighth-most visited website online, and the number one website in China (Alexa.com). Baidu is the most notable rival with Google, and it has home-field advantage. Google has been approaching China aggressively and has been reluctant to conform to Chinese laws, so it is improbable I think that Google will have long-term success in that market.
"Baidu.com." Alexa.com: The Web Information Company. < http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/baidu.com> Updated Accessed 22 April 2010.