On Wednesday, search giant Google’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, dismissed recent criticism of his company’s decision to cooperate with the Chinese government regarding censorship of its Google.cn search engine, and announced plans to open a new research center in Beijing, as well as the launch of its Chinese-language brand name, the Associated Press reports via The Wall Street Journal.
Google is trying to raise its awareness in China after debuting its Chinese language search website, Google.cn, in January. Activists and critics alike have blasted the company for bowing to the Chinese government and censoring Google.cn search results that relate to Taiwan, the Falon Gong movement and other sensitive terms.
Schmidt told a press conference, “We believe that the decision that we made to follow the law in China was absolutely the right one,” according to the AP. Schmidt said that his company had to comply with the Chinese government if it wanted to serve the country’s 111 million Web surfers, the AP reports.
Schmidt also announced a plan to open a new Beijing research center that is to employ some 150 people by mid-year 2006, according to the AP. The center will manufacture products for the global market, but Schmidt was unsure of what specific offerings it will produce, as the center is still in its early planning stages, the AP reports.
Schmidt made the announcements at a ceremony announcing the launch of Google’s new Chinese-language brand name, Gu Ge—or translated, “Valley Song”—which is drawn from a Chinese expression describing a beneficial and rewarding experience, according to the AP.
Google’s CEO noted that the company wasn’t pleased with the recent criticism, but also said it has made no efforts to request that Beijing modify its restrictions, the AP reports. “I think it’s arrogant for us to walk into a country where we are just beginning to operate and tell that country how to operate,” he said, according to the AP.
China currently makes up only a tiny percentage of Google’s worldwide revenues because the company just recently obtained the proper license enabling it to use local advertisements, but Schmidt expects that to change in the near future, with China coming to represent an essential part of its business, the AP reports.
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