Dell and GoDaddy Threaten to Follow Google Out of China (Updated)

The Washington Post reports on GoDaddy’s announcement that it would no longer register China-based domain names due to government requirements for personal information from registrants:

GoDaddy.com Inc., the world’s largest domain name registration company, plans to tell lawmakers Wednesday that it will cease registering Web sites in China in response to intrusive new government rules that require applicants to provide extensive personal data, including photographs of themselves.
The rules, the company believes, are an effort by China to increase monitoring and surveillance of Web site content and could put individuals who register their sites with the firm at risk. The company also believes the rules will have a “chilling effect” on new domain name registrations.

GoDaddy’s move follows Google’s announcement Monday that it will no longer censor search results on its site in China. Analysts and human rights advocates have warned that China’s insistence on censorship and control over information is becoming a serious barrier to trade.

Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy, has explained his position in an email to a supporter who wrote to him about his company’s decision, which the recipient has permitted CDT to republish:

Dear XX,

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about Go Daddy’s position on Internet censorship and the Chinese government.

Our bottom line is that Go Daddy will not act as an agent of the Chinese government.

Over the years, Go Daddy has worked to keep the Internet a safe place for users around the world. We have worked closely with lawmakers to support and advance legislation to this end, operate a 24/7 Abuse Department and work to promote Best Practices with other Internet operators. We plan to keep up the ‘good fight.’

We appreciate your support in this important, ongoing mission.
Bob Parsons
Office of the President

Update: Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that Dell is also considering moving its parts and equipment manufacturing hub from China to India:

Michael Dell, the founder and chief executive of the company, made the suggestion in a meeting with Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister.

Mr Singh told the Hindustan Times: “This morning I met the chairman of Dell Corporation. He informed me that they are buying equipment and parts worth $25 billion from China (£16 billion). They would like to shift to safer environment with a climate conducive to enterprise with security of legal system.”

However, other reports seem to contradict this and say Dell is planning to expand its China operations this year.