- The CEO of Baidu — China’s largest search engine — says that Baidu will still be successful should Google come to China.
- Chinese citizens, however, expressed on social media that they heavily favor Google and strongly dislike Baidu.
- Weibo comments, polls, and even the Baidu CEO statement on the matter were all deleted by the Chinese government.
That’s because Google – for all intents and purposes – isn’t active in China. Instead, the largest search engine in the country is Baidu, a Chinese product that is heavily censored as per regulations by the Chinese government.
Last week, a new rumor surfaced that Google might be planning on launching its search products in China (for like, the zillionth time). Although it is incredibly unlikely that this rumor is true, it didn’t stop the CEO of Baidu from making a statement on the matter, via CNET.
Baidu CEO Robin Li wrote an op-ed piece for a government-run news site called People’s Daily describing his confidence that Baidu would do very well against Google should the search giant enter the country, assuming Google follows Chinese censorship regulations.
The op-ed has since been deleted.
The deletion of the op-ed is likely due to the outcry on Weibo (think of it as the Chinese equivalent of Twitter) from users exclaiming their hopes that Google will come to China – so they wouldn’t have to use Baidu anymore. Check out these comments (also since deleted):
There was also a poll created on Weibo asking a simple question: “If Google returns, between Google and Baidu, which will you choose?” Nearly 90 percent of responses were for Google, with only 7 percent for Baidu:
That poll has also been deleted.
This rampant censorship of public opinion is why Google will likely never bring Google search to China. In order for Google to comply with Chinese laws, it would have to drastically alter its entire search algorithms and essentially make a brand new Search just for Chinese citizens. It would also have to abandon its policies on openness and inclusiveness.
It’s no wonder Chinese citizens are so hopeful that Google will make a return.