Google in China: to return or not to return?

Every time you find yourself surfing the web, searching for some information, you subconsciously leave an indelible trace behind you. Every time you update your social profiles with your personal details, no matter whether it is your name, interests, education and working experiences, etc., you are also releasing an incredibly quantity of precious data.

Nowadays, we have become so used to this act, that we naively overlook the large price we pay for it. However, Internet’s giants such as Google and Baidu, on the contrary, pay very close attention to all of our usage of Internet, because they compete for our personal data.

As everyone knows, from 2010 Google stopped operating in China – so every other platform linked to Google (for example, the Google Play Store – where you can download apps -, Gmail or YouTube), has become unavailable.

Consequently, Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu became bigger and stronger in the domestic market.

Nevertheless, throughout its long exodus from China, Google has made various attempts at a grand return with Mr. Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO. During the latest World Internet Conference, held in Wuzhen, near Shanghai, Mr. Pichai stated that a lot of work Google currently does is designed to assist Chinese companies.

China’s vastly large and growing population of Internet users is too big type of a market for Google to ignore. Therefore, during the abovementioned conference, Ms. Fei Fei Li, Chief Scientist at Google Cloud, announced the establishment of a new Research Center of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) in Beijing. The opening of a high-tech A.I. Research Center may not lead, eventually, to the return of one of the most famous online search engine to mainland China, but, in fact, it may foster this possibility in the future.

Actually, this recent development in relationship between Google and China was induced by both sides. Firstly, China has high ambitions to firmly set in this field, with Beijing recently announcing plans to build, in the next few coming years, a domestic Artificial Intelligence industry, that is estimated to be worth over $150 billions.

Secondly, Google is particularly interested in cooperating with China, because although the USA – Google’s home base –  has been a world leader in the A.I. field in the past, it recently experienced an increased strain on this industry, with a notable reduction of funding as well as a controversial tightening of immigration rules for international researchers, imposed by the government policies.

Therefore, for now China seems to seize the opportunity to further explore this exciting and emerging new industry, so there is a definite possibility for both Google and China to collaborate in the development of the future technologies.

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