The biggest scandal rocking the technology industry in recent weeks has been Google’s very public stand against China. It is starting to turn into a far more interesting sandiwara to me than the local drivel that is conjured up by our unimaginative politicians. So, I am going to switch over to watching the drama unfold in the final fight of Google versus China.
Ars sums up the entire episode thus far quite well. I would recommend giving them a read.
However, I don’t see how this is going to end in a win-win situation for anyone involved. Personally, I am biased. I would like to see Google win this one. At some point, somebody has to stand up to China’s bullying. While China may be a benevolent dictator, it is still one. I don’t see any world governments standing up to China because politicians are spineless by definition. They will only stand up to China if there is real good reason to, like an attack on their interests.
In this fight, the US government seems ready to back Google. However, I am under no illusion that it will be anything more than tacit diplomatic support. I am sure that the US government is still seething from how China derailed them in COP15 and are more than willing to hit back, in a controlled fashion. Furthermore, these cyber-attacks did target machines and top corporations on US soil. So, there is also that angle to consider as justification for taking action.
Google certainly has the necessary clout to cause a big PR scandal for China, if nothing else. As for their profits, I am sure that they have already done the numbers – they are Google after all, an intensely data driven company. Some estimates put their losses in China at about $600 million, which is easily made up by Google elsewhere. Just sell a few more mobile phone ads. So, I think that it is only right for Google to take this stand and most people worldwide, and most importantly – their shareholders, will support their stand against China.
However, this brings me to the other 33 major US firms that were attacked. These companies seem to value their profits more than their spines. Unfortunately for them, I think that they are especially delusional. Well, I don’t blame them because they are not Chinese to begin with. No Chinese, in their right mind, would ever allow a foreign company to take ground in China. There is a lot of bitter history behind this. So, while there may be 1.3 billion people in China, the profits will never be open to these foreign companies for the taking. So, they are delusional if they think that they will ever conquer the Chinese market.
Which brings me to the point that makes me a romantic and an idealist. I have reached a point where I think that governments are useless. The future of the human race lies in the private sector. Our governments worldwide are only going to lead us to ruin. Governments are struggling to do basic things while the private sector has no problems moving mountain and earth if necessary.
In our Malaysian context, I personally see this as a requirement. I have basically given up on the government for anything. They are never going to be able to fix our education, healthcare nor economy. Personally, even if our opposition takes over after the next GE, I doubt that much will change. All I can hope for is less leakage with the existence of a two-party system.
However, when it comes to actual growth, I would think that it is time that the private sector took charge. Unfortunately, most of our largest corporations here are either government-linked or government-owned. So, it does make it a bit difficult to do things. However, there is opportunity for privately held corporations to take leadership positions in different sectors. I think that if these companies are able to come up with products or services that fix our lingering social problems, there is a lot of profit to be made.
Now, here’s me hoping for the private sector to sit up and listen.