Google may be mulling to re-enter the Chinese market after it shut down its operations in the country in 2010.
The optimism over Google’s return to China can be derived from statements made by company’s CEO Sundar Pichai on Sunday. He made a strong case for the search giant’s return to China, saying it is already helping Chinese companies gain global access.
“A lot of work Google does is to help Chinese companies”, the 45-year-old Google CEO said at a state-run global internet conference at the Chinese city of Wuzen. Google is one of the prime service used by many small and medium-sized businesses in China to get their products to many other countries outside of China.
After the ban, Google subsequently shifted its operations to Hong Kong. In its absence, Chinese firms like Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com emerged most powerful players in China and abroad.
Google and its products can be accessed in China through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) over which Beijing has stepped up a crackdown in recent times.
Apple this year agreed to the Chinese government’s requests to remove dozens of virtual private network (VPN) apps services that allow Chinese users to access blocked websites from its local App Store.
Skype, the calling app, was removed from its mainland App Store this autumn.
Pichai’s attendance at the state sponsored internet meeting came after China recently lifted the ban on Google translation services.
Besides Google, a number of global social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter remain banned in China over fears that their presence would open-up to millions of China’s social media users marginalising the official media.
The World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, near Shanghai, is an annual gathering of mainly Chinese internet officials and internet company executives as well as bureaucrats from developing countries.
The Chinese government uses the event to pursue its argument that its censorship and regulation of the internet does not harm the development of technology and business prosperity.
In his address, President Xi spoke of “cyber sovereignty”. Xi said that online developments were raising many new challenges to sovereignty and security, and China was “willing to work with the international community to respect cyberspace sovereignty and promote partnerships”.