Friday, March 19, 2010

Letter pleading Google probably fake

A letter sent to Google earlier this week and posted on the website of state broadcaster CCTV, is likely to be a fake. The letter allegedly from some 27 advertising partners in China, had demanded that Google compensate them if it withdrew from the country. 

But in what appears to be an orchestrated attempt to embarrass Google, the letter claimed that the signatories had watched their business decline and were worried that they faced bankruptcy if Google withdrew.

Gao Min, who is in charge of Google ad sales at Beijing Zoom Interactive Media, said the letter was "likely a fake". His claim appeared to be backed by the fact that many of the supposed signatories denied being a party to the letter. 

Shenzhen Winkee Networking, also included among the 27 partners, denied signing it. Feng Mingming, the sales representative in charge of Google ads at Shenzhen Winkee, said, "I have checked with the head of the company and other relevant officials and found out we haven't sent or signed any such letter." According to Bloomberg News, 22 companies denied any involvement.

"The fact that somebody has organized such a large group of independent companies together into an alliance seems quite implausible," said Isaac Mao, a former fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society [NYT].

It can only be speculated as to who drafted the letter. But given the rhetoric coming through government sources and the fact it was posted on the website of the state-broadcaster, places suspicion on the authorities.

As to whether Google will leave China, is still not entirely clear. Latest reports suggest they did not renew their licence with the MIIT [Ministry of Industry and Information Technology] leading to the conclusion by many that will shutdown soon. It is believed they will shut their Chinese search engine but try to negotiate the continuing of its research and development enterprises. However the disputes between Google and the Chinese government will not make things easy for the search giant.

As for a time frame, this too is unclear. Rumours coming through various Twitter sources have pointed to April 12th. One report suggested Google employees would be paid bonuses and given severance pay as the company shed its staff. 

citing an unidentified Chinese sales agent for the company, Chinese Business News said Google may pull out of China on April 10th. the Shanghai-based newspaper reported that the company would probably reveal its plans on Monday, March 22nd [Business Week / Marketwatch].

tvnewswatch, Beijing, China

No comments: