With Kai-Fu Lee leaving Google.cn [see Wall Street Journal article which first announced the departure] the story of how Google has gone from a company that provides access to “everything” on the web, to one that provides access that is modified by special interests—albeit national interests, such as those of China—is once again in the spotlight.
This June 16, 2009 c|net article — Google’s censorship struggles continue in China describes many of the ups and downs. I’ve written a few articles about this relationship, including Censorship as Punishment and Search engines’ blocking in China “improves.” [See also the Related articles section below]
Google is reported to have around 15% of the online search market in China, compared to 75% for Baidu.com. Both companies comply with Chinese government site blocking (censorship) regulations. [Network World article cites the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) as the data source – they publish periodic reports on Internet use in China]
CNNIC’s reports are quite interesting, and for a statistician they’re a lot of fun to puzzle through. For instance, of 338 million Internet users, the “accounts or passwords of 110 million were stolen.” And among all users, 320 million (94%) are on “broadband” – but note that 46% of users access the Internet from “mobile” connections…which seems to me like they would in no way be considered broadband. Also, 28% of mobile Internet users said they would access the Internet by 3G mobile phone – what are the rest using? Maybe wi-fi is considered mobile Internet? Anyone have the answer?
Previous articles I’ve written on Google and censorship in China:
Censorship as Punishment