According to a senior Chinse official with knowledge of Google’s talks with the Chinese government, the world’s largest internet company by valuation will have to wait and see what Trump has up his sleeve before they know the fate of their China business.
Since 2010, following accusations that China hacked the firm’s Beijing-based operations, and amid promises that the search engine would not censor results, Google’s Chinese business has been based in Hong Kong.
Access to their services on the mainland is redirected to Google Hong Kong, and varies in reliability depending on which day you decide to sign in to gmail or perform a search on Google. The current arrangement has been problematic for prospects of Google regaining a foothold in China, to say the least.
However, “China’s relationship with Google is improving,” said National People’s Congress representative Liu Binjie, speaking to the Financial Times. But, Liu added that the unblocking of Google’s services in China is dependent on whether or not Trump changes his anti-China tune.
Perhaps, as new information trickles out following Trump’s first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s this week, we will have a better feel for where the US-China trade relationship is headed. It is more likely, however, that the waiting game will continue for Google.