Google Inc. announced Tuesday it is no longer willing to continue censoring Internet search results in China, and that it may shut down the google.cn website and pull its offices in the country.
Here's a look at Google's involvement in the world's largest Internet market by users:
- Google launched its Chinese-language website, Google.cn, in 2006. Lee Kai-Fu helmed the company's operations in the country until he resigned in 2009 to start a venture firm. He was succeeded by John Liu, who took over Lee's business and operational responsibilities.
- The company employs several hundred salespeople and engineers in the country across three offices, in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In September, it told local newspapers it would double its sales team within six months. Larger rival Baidu, in contrast, employs about 4,000 sales and customer service personnel alone.
- Google.cn complies with local laws requiring censorship of certain items such as pornography and "vulgar comment". Its flagship English-language site, Google.com, is not required to submit to similar censorship, but analysts say the government filters content through its own Internet firewall.
- The company controls about 31.3 per cent of the Chinese Web search market, versus 63.9 per cent for larger rival Baidu, according to Analysys International.
- Google does not break out Chinese revenue figures, but Collins Stewart analyst Sandeep Aggarwal estimates Google generates about $200-million (U.S.) in annual sales from China. JP Morgan has estimated Google would generate about $600-million in revenue from China in 2010.
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