Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Google Burnt by the Great Firewall of China


The world in your hands: an overnight, overseas update.

This is St. Hilary's Day, traditionally the coldest 24 hours on earth, and it's a chilly climate of Chinese cyberspace censorship into which Hillary Clinton will unveil an "Internet freedom" initiative next week. Google's (GOOG) after-hours announcement that it may pull out of a country that claims more web browsers (338 million) than the entire US population, pits profit against principle for the company whose motto is "don't be evil." In a delicious piece of irony, it was reported earlier today that Google gained search engine market share on hometown hero Baidu (BIDU) in the fourth quarter.

Certainly, it's a foolish firm that flips the bird's nest at the vast potential riches on offer from the world's rising economic power. However the sophisticated email-hacking incidents aimed at human rights activists may not be worth the headaches for Google, especially given Beijing currently represents an "immaterial" amount of their $22 billion in annual revenue. In his year-end review, one of the annual glories of American journalism, George Will pointed out that in 2009 "The Empire State Building was bathed in red and yellow light to honor the 60th anniversary of China's regime, which is responsible for more deaths than Hitler and Stalin combined." Google's Mountain View marvels, a quintessentially American success story from the Land of the Free, should send a signal that sometimes morals are more important than markets.

Meanwhile, China continues to cut deals everywhere from Equador to Europe, with the "world's best bank" (and owner of its most embarrassing stock symbol) the latest to jump into bed with Beijing. Spain's Banco Santader (STD) is planning a joint venture with China Construction Bank Corp, according to media reports today.

News this morning that Germany suffered its steepest annual drop in GDP since the World War II. It's hard to envisage how Europe can pull itself out of the economic mire when its largest economy remains in such dire straights.

There's never any love lost between Berlin and Paris, but the French can't afford to be too cocky today after their own Societe Generale just announced a fresh $2 billion write down on risky assets. Equities across Europe are off on the news.
< Previous
  • 1
Next >
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Videos