An interesting article today about Google uncovering evidence that China is using their great cyberforce of workers to attack and hack GMAIL , Google claims they are trying to read the mail of China’s human rights activists. This clearly breaks the terms of service between China and Google.
The striking thing to me, as a technology person, are the comments after the CNN blog article . Some of those commenting say “Money is Money”, which in this case is a little pathetic. Others, like Jim Cramer, stock market entertainer, claim that Google is failing their profits. SO I wanted to write a quick mention about China, to speak to these people who just look at China as a vast market for US companies.
First, while China has over 1 billion people, a huge amount of them make $1 a day. SO let’s lo0ok at the numbers for a sense of scale:
China population: ~1,326,000,000
China population that makes more than $4 a day: ~300,000,000
China has no Rule of Law. Their system is very concerned with social stability and order. When populations reach this level, the most important issue is to make sure that no one group is trying to cause social instability. China is caught between older generations and cultural ideas, and modern capitalistic concepts represented in America. In order to work well with China, they will need to ‘grow up’. Their actions with Google technology breaks that terms of service. They do not care about fo9llowing agreements. Sure, there ARE a billion people over there and a fraction of this population can mean a lot of money and revenue for any US or Western company. But most of that audience cannot afford what’s advertised on the Google servers, and Google would prefer to be in markets they realize real profits. There is a price performance ratio of the cost to enter a market and the return in profit you get from that market. From a profit motive on Google’s part, there is possibly a larger audience that truly BUYS through Google advertising penetration in Western countries (in what I am calling their REAL markets), vs China (an unripe market).
Bottom line: China has broken the Google Terms of Service AND tried to attack their system. Why should Google stay in this market and dedicate endless engineering man hours in defense of their technologies, when you can put those same Google engineers into “forward opportunities” with partners that are not trying to wreck your system?