It's no big secret that search titan Google covets the idea of breaking through in the Chinese digital landscape and claiming a similar level of dominance that it current enjoys in the western world. But for the company that once added the statement "Don't be evil" to its organizational code of conduct, how far is it willing to go to accomplish this goal?
According to a new report from Yuan Yang of The Financial Times, it appears that the envelope has been pushed even further beyond previous norms with the revocation of certain advertisements for websites that review software designed to work around China's rigid censorship laws.
Digging a little deeper, the two websites in question (Top10VPN and VPNMentor), noted that before an apparent request from Chinese officials to "step up" censorship of advertisements coming from domains such as these, these two organizations had utilized Google's ad networks to advertise to Chinese consumers for years. However, as China continues to expand its "Great Firewall" of Internet controls, it appears that it has found a willing partner in Google.
If this sounds like a stark backtracking of previous policies held by the world's largest search engine, then you'd be right. However, as we noted in a previous piece covering Google's initial look at returning to the Chinese marketplace, it seems to be clearer and clearer that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sundar Pichai and Google have no qualms sacrificing certain tenants and established stances in an effort to garner favor with the strict ruling class of the world's most populous nation – even as the company suggests otherwise.
Is Google sending "kindness signals" to Xi Jinping and the rest of the Communist Party of China (CPC) as it prepares to bring back its search product to China? Should this shifting and more fluid approach to platform management concern those who rely on Google's ad networks to connect with customers in local markets across the globe, like your dealership?
For more insight into this subject, be sure to check out the full story from Yang and The Financial Times team by clicking on the link we've provided down below.