China leverages Google to reach global audience: Sundar Pichai

Sundar Pichai

Addressing the China’s “World Internet Conference”, an event designed to globally promote the country’s vision of a more censored and controlled internet, Indian born Google’s CEO Pichai Sundararajan aka Sundar Pichai said that many small and medium-sized businesses in China take advantage of Google to get their products to many other countries outside of China.

At the fourth edition of the Chinese state-run conference in Wuzhen, Pichai hints at the return of search giant in China, which recently resumed Google translation services in the country.

The conference was also addressed by Apple CEO Tim Cook and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma, Cisco Systems Inc.’s Chuck Robbins, Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Pony Ma and Baidu Inc. founder Robin Li, reported Bloomberg.

Google was shut down in China in 2010 following a showdown with the government over censor policies. Since then Google, Gmail, Youtube and its other products are banned in the country. After the ban, Google subsequently shifted its operations to Hong Kong.

Google and its products can be accessed in China only through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) over which Beijing has stepped up a crackdown in recent times.

In its absence, Chinese firms like Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com emerged most powerful players in China and abroad.

Also Read: Amazon to exit from cloud-computing business in China

Apple’s chief executive officer, who made his first appearance at World Internet Conference gave a surprise keynote, calling for future internet and AI technologies to be infused with privacy, security and humanity.

Last month, Apple removed several apps including Skype, Microsoft’s internet phone call, and messaging service, from its app store in China after the country’s government pointed to violations of local laws.

In his address, Chinese President Xi spoke of “cyber sovereignty”. He said that online developments were raising many new challenges to sovereignty and security, and China was “willing to work with the international community to respect cyberspace sovereignty and promote partnerships”

Besides Google, a number of global social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter remain banned in China over fears that their presence would open-up to millions of China’s social media users marginalising the official media.

China has increased scrutiny of internet applications this year, ordering firms to remove hundreds of apps that allow users to communicate confidentially or get around China’s so-called Great Firewall system of censorship and use overseas social media.

The actions are linked to real name authentication laws brought in earlier this year, requiring all network providers to verify the real names of users with state-issued IDs or passports, which must be accessible to authorities for surveillance purposes.

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