Yahoo! and Google kowtow—would I?
I thought about the above question today. Would I enter the Red Chinese market with my products? Probably, but unlikely. There is some call for it at the moment, and we have had partner ﬁrms investigate the possibility for at least one of my businesses, but my heart is never in it. So would I cooperate with authorities of an unelected totalitarian dictatorship whose diplomats publicly insult me to disclose the names and other private information of my customers? Not on your life.
The more I think about it, the more I dislike these decisions to compromise your brand and your very essence for the sake of market entry.
The argument even I advanced was that cooperating with the legal institutions of one nation was better than not providing your service to its nationals. It is also better, I thought, for people to go to Google than to Baidu or a state-controlled, Chinese-owned service. But what is the difference now? And what damage does that do to the brand when China is democratic because, history tells us, this is likely to happen? Would you like to be branded a collaborator?
While Baidu and others might make it outside China—they already serve many—hypothetically, I would rather have the support of all my existing customers, who create enough of a groundswell that future free Chinese will opt for my service. Let them crave for it now—in Google’s case it had a reputation for justice. When freedom rings, be there for the people. Watch the queues like Moskva’s McDonald’s did when it ﬁrst opened.
These institutions are not legal, per se. The government is not elected. It fails the most basic requirement of membership in the United Nations—that the nation state be self-determined.
It might mean I will miss out on some dollars. But while I run this ﬁrm, I will have a clear conscience. If our products go into Red China, then I doubt I will change my tune. If compelled to change, I will make the decision to withdraw.
Del.icio.us tags: Google | China | Yahoo! | branding | brands | human rights | democracy | freedom Posted by Jack Yan, 08:45
Good for you Jack. You raise some excellent points. I pray China would become democratic someday and that the real possibility of that will affect Google and Yahoo today.
Thank you, Randy. I know China will be free some day. History, too, shows it is likely to happen, especially with so much worker abuse happening there.Post a Comment
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