Global Times: Searching for progress without Google

16:03, March 22, 2010      

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Google's game in China is going to be over soon. It is said that the world's top search engine may announce its pullout plans as early as today and go through with its withdrawal on April 10.

To the majority of Chinese people, the announcement will come as no surprise. Analysis indicates that Google's exit will have little impact on their daily online activities.

And, in a recent survey conducted by huanqiu.com, up to 80 percent of respondents said that Google's exit did not really matter to them.

A simple reason lies behind most Chinese netizens' indifference toward Google's withdrawal.

After two months' thorough public discussion over the dispute, nothing is more evident than its consequence: While the company's exit may be permanent due to its damaged reputation among Chinese users, China's Internet progress will not cease in Google's absence.

The uniqueness of Chinese characters has made much room for homegrown Internet technologies to flourish.

Some domestic companies such as Baidu and Sogou have ridden the tide of the time, and taken the lead in developing input and search technologies more suited to the habits of Chinese Web users. Though Google's global dominance in search technology remains unshakeable, its technologies in these other areas hardly rival its major Chinese competitors.

But it would be a completely different picture if the nation had not developed its own search technologies.

With no domestic company to swiftly fill the vacuum left by Google, the search engine giant's departure would have left society in chaos. The impact would have been devastating.

While Google will soon be gone, competition in the field of cyber technology will be no less intense.

Internet companies will strive to grab a slice of the $1 billion search market, but it is also crucial for the government to make all-out efforts to help boost the technology potential of domestic companies. That is the only way to minimize the external pressure imposed by factors like Google's threat to leave.

The power of an independent nation hinges on its technological innovation. This is especially the case with an emerging economy like China.

Cyber technology, hailed by some Western politicians as a "huge strategic asset," is among the few core technologies whose edges must be sharpened domestically to maintain social stability and safeguard the national interests.

Google's curtain is falling. But in China's progressing, booming search market of 350 million Web users, a fantastic play has just started. No one can afford to miss it.

This is an editorial Monday by the English Edition of the Global Times
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