Baidu chief calls Google's retreat from mainland a gift

09:29, November 17, 2010      

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 The chairman of Baidu, China's dominant Internet search engine, threw his gauntlet at the feet of Google on Monday, calling the US firm's retreat from the mainland a gift.

  Robin Li revealed that when Google had launched its search engine in China, he advised CEO Eric Schmidt to spend at least six months a year in China to better understand the market.

  Speaking at a Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco, Li struck a playful note, saying, "Eric did not take my advice. I knew that, eventually, he would hand me a gift, and it happened."

  This barb came on the same day that Google called for Western nations to challenge Internet restrictions in China and other countries.

  David Weller, a lawyer working with Google on the issue, said that government-imposed restrictions on the Internet impacted negatively on an increasing number of companies, which rely on the ability "to move data around the world with a minimum of government restriction." The paper named several US heavyweights that fall into this category, including Facebook, Twitter, eBay and Amazon.

  Bob Boorstin, a director of public policy at Google, revealed that the company is aiming to get countries to view the economic impact of these restrictions, as well as the human rights dimension.

  "When you say to governments, 'You could lose foreign investments in your country if you don't allow the free flow of information,' you may be striking a chord that is more likely to resonate than, 'You will be looked down upon by the world for the way you treat your citizens,'" he said.

  Baidu reported in October that it had more than doubled its net profits in the third quarter, benefiting from Google's sliding market share.

Source: Global Times


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