Google.cn is threatening to pull out of China, because of "a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google." Read the official Google blog about it here.
- Of course it is not clear whether Google is bluffing? If they do, China probably would not care less, since Baidu, China's market leader, is China's preferred search engine anyways.
- If they don't bluff, the question is whether the censorship, vulnerability to sophisticated hacker-attacks (hacking does not seem to be a problem exclusively targeted to Google.cn or foreign companies only; days before Baidu was hacked) and the resulting intellectual property theft are the real reasons or whether Google wants to cut their losses after disappointing business results and do not want to lose face?
Many Chinese people have sympathy for Google's demands to be able to provide unfilitered search results and have laid flowers and wreaths at Google.cn headquarters at Zhongguancun, Beijing's high-tech centre, which the Chinese authorities called "illegal". Then again, Joel Martinsen of the always excellent Danwei.org has an article by Gao Youbin who quotes a survey by Huanqiu Online: 70 percent of respondents say that the Chinese government should not give in to Google's demands, read here (the second part of the 'Earth-shattering news').
IP Dragon would love to know what kinds of intellectual property rights were stolen, as Google alleges. Do you know?