Google is planning a comeback in China with a new censored search engine, the CEO of China’s current search king has made public his thoughts on the matter, essentially saying, “bring it on!”n the wake of reports that
“If Google decides to return to China, we will fight and beat them again,” Baidu founder Robin Li wrote today in a WeChat post that is currently generating lots of buzz on Chinese social media. In his post, Li boasts that Chinese companies have become stronger in recent years with the world now copying from China. He notes that his company in particular is a global leader in AI technology and innovation.
Li also speculates that Baidu helped to hasten Google’s departure from China nearly a decade ago, claiming that despite being the “latecomer,” his company was able to surpass the Silicon Valley giant through tech and innovation. By the time that Google left the country, its market share was declining while Baidu’s exceeded 70 percent, Li writes.
Google had operated a censored version of its search engine in China until 2010 when the company decided to pull out of China after Chinese human rights activists’ Gmail accounts werehacked in a coordinated attackand negotiations with the Chinese government predictably failed to result in any kind of agreement.
Last week, The Intercept broke the news that Google was attempting to re-enter China with a government approved Android search app. That news was promptly censored on Chinese social media, not a great sign for Google’s chances, though Li at least seems a bit concerned.
In yet more censorship news, the English-language Global Timestabloid published an article earlier this afternoon about Li’s comments, only for that article to promptly disappear. The piece had apparently reported on an online poll which found that nearly 90 percent of Chinese netizens would prefer to use Google if it returns.
@Baidu_Inc CEO Robin Li said Tuesday he is confident in Baidu's ability to compete with @Google, even as the possible return of Google to the Chinese mainland generated buzz among Chinese netizens with a poll showing nearly 90% of them prefer to use Google.https://t.co/Oxs3ubBoWI
— Global Times Biz (@GlobalTimesBiz) August 7, 2018
On Weibo, reports on Li’s comments remain up and apparently uncensored at the moment. Indeed, many of the comments are critical of Baidu, which has faced several significant scandals in recent years. “Google makes me work more efficiently, Baidu only makes me sick,” wrote one netizen.