Last Friday, Google made the surprising announcement that they were granted their license renewal to be able to operate a website in China once again.
Why was China so important to Google and why did they fight so hard to obtain their license?
Simple, without the internet license, Google’s presence would have gone back to when it did not have a localized search page. China users that were keen to access Google search turned to offshore sites which did mean they had longer search times and it boosted Google’s competition.
Google’s has a small business search in China; however, they are looking at the long-term growth prospects which will be the key.
Google continues to provide non-search functions on their Google.cn site in the lines of music search and text and translation.
With China being the world’s largest internet market, the country has great potential. Firms like eBay and Yahoo have not been able to get their foothold in the China market.
Although Google’s efforts to stay in China may pay off it will still maintain access to the world to the world’s largest internet users.
China not only holds a huge market potential for search but also in other areas such as social networking, e-commerce and gaming.
The downside to operating in such a market as China is the extremely strict government controls which will continue to be a conflict between Google and Beijing which was the area that was responsible for the original dispute with them.
So really what other then search does Google still have in China? It still maintains it’s Android platform for an open source operating system in mobile phones. Analysts expect Android is to become extremely popular for the mobile operating system in China over the long run which is anticipated to beat even Apple’s iPhone.
If China had not renewed Google’s ICP license it would definitely had been uncertainty for Android and China can also still make it hard for Google to develop and market the platform in their country.
Newer more immediate difficulties that they will also face is that China has just implemented laws requiring firms that wish to provide online mapping to apply for a license. As of now, Google is not on the list of approved mapping companies.
Other Google products such as Blogger and YouTube are still being blocked in China.