Case Study of Google China--How lobbying affects Crisis Management

This case study is more focused on how lobbying affects crisis management in China.

2010 Jan 12
th, Google declared on its official blog that it “should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.”

2010 Jan 13th, Some young Internet users sent flowers to Google China office, as a gesture of mourning. Controversial comments appeared online,

2010 Jan 14th, the Spokesperson from Foreign Office expressed that the Chinese Internet is Open, and the government encourages the development of Internet, the Chinese Law prohibits all kinds of hack behavior and international internet enterprises are always welcomed developing legal business in China.

2010 Jan 15th US Congress expressed their concern regarding the issue, senator Hilary Clinton, asking for further explanations and Internet freedom from Chinese government.

2009 Janaury - April. The Central Government carried out the regulation towards online pornography information/resources with seven different ministries(Central News Office, Ministry of Industry & Information, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Business & Commerce, SARFT and the Head Publishing Association), with a lot of well-known websites on the list to be regulated. and Google was on the list twice.

2009 June 18th, without much improvement or response from Google,

-Afternoon, The Internet Information Supervising Center called a meeting with Google China, acclaimed it not being cooperative to relative laws and regulations and made strong criticism. An official from the center told the press that Google China would make an public apology later.

Around 6 o’clock, the PR representative of Google China, Ms Wang Jing Hong said nothing was clear at that moment and no comment on the situation whatsoever. Situation would be updated in about an hour. But no further response followed for the next hour.

-Evening Google was accused of providing pornographic information and links by the most influential News Program of the most influential Media platform, the News Broadcasting at 7 on CCTV. Then the official accusation was followed by more detailed reports by two other most influential talk show and news program;

-Midnight Google China made a statement on its corporate blog, declaring it would dedicate more efforts to filter the pulp and inappropriate information online, which was hardly recognized as an apology.

2009 June 24th-26th People.com.cn(the website of People’s Daily, the most official Newspaper in China, voice of the Central Government) posted criticizing articles about Google China everyday for three days, saying the public all welcomed this regulation towards Google and attention should be made in case Google China continue to mess around with everyone.

2009 Sep. 04 Kai-Fu Lee, former CEO of Google China, left the company. Kai –Fu Lee was once recognized as the one to lead localization of Google China, however, things didn’t work out quite as planned.

2009 Nov. 30, rumor on Twitter that Google China is about to shut down. But twitter was already blocked so the news didn’t go far enough to China.

According to Political Lobbying by Charles Miller, there are a few characteristics of how decisions are made in UK based political system.

Rarely single-facted

Shaped & taken by several people

Heavily influenced at a relatively low level



No universal template

Proactive: keep active and regular contact with the government, don’t wait till something happen. And if something does happen, give a quick and proper response.

Local: understand the message the government sent out. For Google, it’s not the pulp information that really matters; it’s the political sensitive information.

Low profile: Kai-fu Lee has always been a high profile person, lecturing around the country, on TV show and publishing books.

Talk to them first: media should always get the news one step later than the government

Talk to the right one: Besides the seven ministries, the one really matters in this issue is actually the Central Publicity Department

Talk to them in private: build relationship with them under the table

Make it political
Count on third party influence

What did Google do?
Didn’t respond much to Jan-Apr criticism.
Didn’t really apologize
And…release the news before negotiating with the government.

Is Google quitting?
Maybe. If they don care losing the market of 384 million people and annual revenue of 600 million dollars.

On 02nd Feb, 2010,no further announcement of whether to pull out from China, instead, Google China released new Gadget as “Google Map for Spring Festival Travel”, which includes the transport information from 31 major city train stations, ticket offices and 160 airports, aiming to provide more convenience to millions of people who are determined to travel back homel. Meanwhile, the Spokesperson of Google China continues to express “the Headquarter of Google China is under routine operation.”

Google needs to understand they’ve only got 2 options: keep censoring or giving up 600 million dollars.

1 comment:

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