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Meanwhile, potential business partners dropping left and rightIt's been less than a week since Google made good on its promise to stop self-censoring on its search engine in China, www.google.cn, but the company is already experiencing the aftershocks of its decision: praise from the US government and loss of innumerable business partnerships.
At the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, a panel lauded Google for its "difficult" but "right" decision in ceasing to self-censor. Microsoft, on the other hand, was chastised for continuing to support the anti-free speech demands of China, who in turn got lambasted for its attempt to stem the flow of information and communication.
"China wants to participate in the marketplace of goods but keep the marketplace of ideas outside their country," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., "Only when China respects human rights and allows the free flow of ideas ... only then will they be treated as a full member of the international community."
Though Google didn't abandon China entirely, instead redirecting all users to the unfiltered Hong Kong portal, the potential instability and inefficiency of the alternate Google search source already has one key business partner looking elsewhere. China Unicom, a major telecommunications operator in that country, has already announced that it will boycott Google's search engine.
China Unicom's decision represents what will likely be the status quo across China, since Google's search engine simply won't be able to keep up with competitors.
"If you were partnering with Google in China, your business plans have just fallen apart," said Bertram Lai, head of research at CIMB-GK Securities in Hong Kong. "You need to scramble and find new partners."
Naturally, Google competitors like Baidu, already the number one search engine in China, will benefit enormously from Google exiting the picture.
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