Still No Success for Google in Mainland China


Published Date : Dec 19, 2017

Google was allowed to set up Google.cn by the Chinese government in 2006 for residents in the country. In return, Google had agreed to clean up the search results of content that government thought to be objectionable. The deal was upheld till 2010, after which Google decided that it could not agree to such conditions any more. Within a few hours, the site was blocked by the government and Google’s business in the mainland was as good as dead.

The Alphabet Inc. unit never really lost hope on rising back in China, however, and the last week it introduced its latest effort to take some part of the largest internet market in the world. The opening of AI research center in Beijing backed by the launch of several new social media accounts to back up the AI developers who make use of Google software tools.

Google has never been able to find a political middle ground in China and has been hesitant in censoring content unlike its rival Apple Inc. Over the last few year, Google has made an effort – in vain – to launch a Chinese edition of app marketplace just like the Play Store.

With all these efforts going sideways, Google is now thinking of doing things differently, and thus targeting the increasing AI developer community in the country by providing them with open-source tools called as TensorFlow.

Yet, even after some strong initial successes, Google is not position to generate profit out of this investment in AI in China. One big problem is thought to be the lack of a direct means of monetizing the tools. TensorFlow users outside China can subscribe to the paid services of Google cloud to run the tools. However, with ban on Google cloud in China, the users in the country have to find local servers to run it and thus eating majority of profits.