Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Google's miscalculation in China

Google keeps challenging China with its threat to withdraw. I am amazed what they want to achieve with that. As far as I can see China is following a very nationalistic economic policy at the moment aimed at acquiring technology and they will be very happy when Google leaves and makes place for Chinese companies. It saves them the trouble of harassment.

China is nowadays following a policy of “indigenous innovation” that will require government procurement to favour products that include Chinese intellectual property. The policy is still a proposal but some local government are already implementing it. A good example was the recent transfer of the production by Wärtsilä - a ship propeller- and auxiliary-engine factory - from the Netherlands to China (more elaborate information is unfortunately only in Dutch). Pressure from China was hereby explicitly mentioned as one of the reasons.

All this makes me look incredulously at Google. My estimate is that even if China agrees with them on the need for a more free access to information they will wait until Google has left before they implement it.

Postscript: China has moderated its “indigenous innovation” poicy. The article sees a pattern: "Over the past decade, the government launched several initiatives aimed at strengthening local companies and bolstering government control, but watered them down after an outcry from the foreign business community."

No comments: