2. From a corporate values perspective, what are the arguments for and against entering China?
Google claims that its mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Their code of conduct addresses issues of respect, confidentiality, and avoidance of conflicts of interest. Their informal corporate motto is “don’t be evil.” It could be argued that, from a corporate values perspective, Google would have a hard time justifying operating in China. On the other hand, it could be argued that Google’s commitment to providing access to information make it hard for the company not to operate in China.
The Chinese government restricts freedom of expression and access to information through a system of internet censorship that includes firewalls and government mandated self censorship of internet service providers and individual users. This censorship seems to be in conflict with Google’s corporate values. Google says its mission is to make information universally accessible, but in China this access would be severely limited.
Chinese law requires that internet companies operating inside of China turn over user information at the government’s request. This information is often used to prosecute and imprison individuals who are seen as dissenters. Both Yahoo! and Microsoft have had to comply with Chinese laws that required them to help the Chinese government repress dissent. If Google found itself in a situation where it was legally obligated to give user information to the Chinese government it could be said that this violates Google’s code of confidentiality.
Looking in a different direction it could be argued that Google’s mission of making information universally accessible would support a decision to enter the Chinese market. Even though the Chinese government will limit the amount of information that Chinese citizens can access through Google, having access to some information is arguably better than not...