From The Wall Street Journal, via The Opposite End of China (Korla, Xinjiang Blog):
Google Inc. became a business superstar by relentlessly following one goal: making the world’s information “universally accessible and useful.” Now its ambitions overseas are bringing it up against a government whose philosophy is very different: China.
Yahoo Inc. and other rivals have been operating in China for years. Google has offered a Chinese version of its familiar search service, but it had no offices or employees in China until this year. That hindered its ability to compete for traffic and advertising among China’s rapidly growing base of more than 100 million Internet users, already the world’s second-largest, after that of the U.S.
Today, Google is rushing to catch up in a bid to remain competitive globally. But the move into China is giving the country’s censors and security officials greater potential leverage over Google — whose corporate mantra is “don’t be evil.” Beijing believes that the Internet must be firmly controlled to maintain social stability and, ultimately, the Communist Party’s hold on power. It requires Internet companies operating in China to comply with the country’s stringent censorship and security laws. Already, Google has been tailoring part of its service to omit sources blocked by Chinese censors. For example, when a user in China searches Google’s news service, sites related to Falun Gong and other groups banned by the government don’t show up.