Google will not quit China

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Google will not quit China

Warwick Ashford

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt has indicated that even if the company closes its search operations in China because of censorship, it will not withdraw other business interests.

"We remain quite committed to being there," he said in a conference call with analysts and reporters after Google announced a record profit for the last quarter of 2009.

Schmidt said Google, which has threatened to shut down its Chinese search operations if it is forced to continue censoring results, is holding talks with the Chinese government about easing censorship.

But Schmidt has pointed out that Google's search operation in China is not the firm's only business interest in the country.

"We have lots of other business opportunities in China - we would like them to be successful," he told the Financial Times.

"It's very important to know we are not pulling out of China. We have a good business in China. This is about the censorship rules, not anything else," he said.

Google's revelation that it is among at least 20 other companies that have been targeted by China-based attacks has prompted US calls for world leaders to condemn cyber attacks.

In what has been described as thinly veiled criticism of China, US secretary of state Hilary Rodham Clinton said an attack on one nation's networks can be an attack on all.

Chinese authorities, however, have been quick to play down the political significance of the Google attacks.

"The Google incident should not be linked to bilateral relations, otherwise that would be over-interpreting it," China's vice-foreign minister He Yafei said in a statement.

But Clinton has called on China to conduct a thorough review of Google's complaints. "We look for that investigation and its results to be transparent," she said.


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