China’s largest state-owned media group posted on its twitter account to welcome Google back in China, a signal that this time the global Internet giant might return for real.
People’s Daily, the biggest newspaper group in China, posted on its Twitter account on August 6: “Google is welcome to return the Chinese mainland but it must comply with local laws. All foreign internet companies in China should respect China’s internet management.”
Speculations about Google returning to China have never ceased to attract attention since Google pulled its search business out of China in 2010 since when the number of mobile Internet users in mainland China has more than doubled and the Internet landscape in the mainland has rapidly shifted.
New reports surfaced last week that Google is willing to create a censored search app to meet Beijing’s standards. As the Intercept reported that the search engine, bearing the project name of Dragonfly, will block illegal websites and filter search results to comply with Chinese laws.
People’s Daily tweet also came with a link to an article posted on People’s Daily’s Facebook page with the title “Stability prerequisite for China’s internet opening up.” The linked page, however, disappeared within several hours after the tweet was posted.
On the linked Facebook page it said Google’s decision to exit the Chinese market was a huge blunder and called Google “a politicized brand” regardless of whether it operates in mainland China or not.
In addition, it pointed out that whether or when Google can return hinges on its own attitude. To succeed and win local audiences it has to respect local laws and follow local customs.
In January this year, Google announced a patent agreement with Tencent Holdings Ltd that valued over $500 billion. Recently, it has been reported that Google is in talk with Tencent and other Chinese companies to offer its cloud services in the mainland.
Although Google hasn’t specifically responded to the news, it told The Verge in a statement , “We provide a number of mobile apps in China, such as Google Translate and Files Go, help Chinese developers, and have made significant investments in Chinese companies like JD.com. But we don’t comment on speculation about future plans.”
Many expressed concerns over the future prospect in search engine business since the competition among search engines that was over in the PC market is about to conclude in the mobile Internet market.
Baidu, Inc., who holds over 70 percent of market share in China’s search engine market, was expected to feel an impact following Google’s comeback. Its stock price has experienced an 8 percent drop on August 1st and an 1.14 percent drop yesterday.
Robin Li, co-founder and CEO of Baidu, said on his personal social media account that if Google decided to return to China, Baidu would be confident to fight and win again.