Google Versus China: Investment Ethics

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Harvey Mudd College
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This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The Google service providers have always operated according to their rules and ethics while providing internet services worldwide. The service offered by Google has been helpful in ensuring that users enjoy their full rights of information access irrespective of the geographical space. This full right of access to information did not go well with some government authorities where Google was forced to offer internet services by violating their own code of ethics. China is one of the countries that did not embrace Google services well. This paper will focus on Google in China. It will focus on a way in which Google can work in order to operate within the legal mandate in China.

Google came up with a compromising service, that is, which was to ensure that information was filtered before users could access it. This happened when MacLean was the director of International Business at Google and who seemed to be against this alternative idea. I can therefore give MacLean three pieces of advice concerning strategy. The first advice is that MacLean should just accept and adopt this strategy because it is the only way by which Google can continue to exist in China as they strived to make investment, given the prevailing state of affairs in China. A second advice would be that as the director of International Business at Google, he should ensure that the ethics and core principles of Google are revised in such a way that they are flexible depending on the country authorities. It will help conserve the companys name so that it is not ridiculed by critics when they suddenly decide to operate according to the dictates of the government authority. I can also advise MacLean that management requires teamwork and recognition of other peoples ideas. This means that he should not stick to his policy alone especially in the environment where change is inevitable for the continuity and success of the business (Jiang, 2014, Baker & Tang, 2015).

There is no way Google can operate by their own laws of ethics and principles if they are to remain and invest in China. If China decides to use their existing laws to protect their sovereignty and security, then it may not make sense for an external company like Google to operate contrary to the wishes of China. Google should thus abide by the Chinese laws plus every political regulation that seeks to protect the wishes of China. It is apparent that Google went to China for investment. They therefore have to follow the laws of that lane. However, if Google wants to protect its core principles and ethics, then they will have to move away from China. This is based on the fact that the existing ethics and principles of Google directly conflict with the existing laws and regulations of China as a country (Puxley, 2015, Johnsson, 2013).

The decision by Google either to follow or not follow Chinese laws plus political regulations rests with them. If they decide to follow, then they will have to compromise their ethical principles. If they do not follow, then it means they are not prepared to invest in China. This latter choice of decision will be good in that Google will be in a position to protect itself from critics since it will easily preserve and protect itself against its own principles and ethics. Nevertheless, the former choice can also be good in that the choice to continue staying in China will mean huge investment on internet services which may see them enjoy higher returns or profits. Every decision in this case is thus a challenge. Perhaps this is why Google came up with amore compromising solution of launching that will take care of both government laws but also accommodate Chinese users by way of filtering information. But Google could also choose to withdraw from China as a way of protecting their image. Their threat to withdraw from China in the year of 2010 (Huang, 2012) could be a better way of ensuring that their ethical principles and hence their image is preserved.

The threat to withdraw also signifies that it is not a must for Google to operate in China for them to perform well in the international business sector. However, Google finally decides to go by Chinas demands which it does by even using pragmatic and utilitarian way of reasoning in order to defend its choice of supporting China (Spinello, 2011, Pyun, 2014). This is based on the fact that Google needs to act in accordance to Chinese laws which are based on the Doctrine of Conformity, Principle of Sovereignty, and Act of State. It will call for Google to restructure their business and mode of operation to align with these acts and procedures.

Even companies such as Cisco, MSN, and Yahoo among others were not doing the right things in China. They also caved in to Chinas shameful although expected demands just for the sake of ensuring that they make profit while operating and investing in China. These American companies happily gave assistant at no cost to Chinese Censorship group. As a result, all the companies seemed to be operating in such away to benefit the government and other local authorities and not with full intention of benefiting the users who are citizens of China.

Cisco for instance assisted to uplift China's shameful demands by assisting in the development of policeNet. They also captured close to about 40% of the total market share for routers which were employed in checking and directing traffic in China. They also build the great Firewalls which were used in information filtering. In fact they went ahead by claiming that their participation in the creation of policeNet was according to the authorization act of  foreign relation which also enclosed such equipment which could be sold to a country like China to help them enforce law. They thus used the existing system of rules and regulation in China to fully defend themselves even after doing the wrong thing. The thing here is that Cisco which is an American company joined the team of denying citizens of China the right to full access for information simply because the government of China perceived such freedom as a threat to it (Spinello, 2014).

Yahoo, according to information from reliable sources was also found to involve in offering information to China authorities who was used to convict journalists. The imprisonment of journalists took place at a time when Yahoo offered their individual information to the Chinese government. They also made a long term strategic choice of partnering with whereby they merged their businesses thereby abandoning their everyday control of operations. They in addition claimed that they were not aware how China government was monitoring and getting the identification of Yahoo users. This is yet another incident of an American company using their technological knowhow to promote shameful demands of China.

The Microsoft was not left behind in their attempt to comply with the local laws of the Chinese government. They removed the Chinese journalist blog from the MSN space site which is an American-based. They also participated in filtering various searches like democracy , freedom and others from Chinese site in addition to shutting down other blogs as a way of adhering to rules and regulations of China concerning the right of access to internet information. The big question is why this same company could host the individual websites including blogs on the space of MSN that were outside China while at the same time doing opposite to personal blogs of individuals in China. Going by the manner in which internet services are handled in China in relation to the prevailing laws, it is apparent that China government is a silently dictatorial regime even to the external investors. This is why they could successfully block the right of entry in to as a way of forcing the company to operate according to the censorship demands of China. The American companies in this case were not doing the right things in China according to my opinion.

The fact that they are investors who were operating on the basis of making profit does not mean that they should take part in helping a dictatorial regime that is already denying its citizens their rights to further deny their users the right of access to information.

On the other hand, it is also true to say that these American companies were doing the right things in China as investors. This can be supported by the theory of utilitarianism where by the cost benefit analysis by every company investor has to overlook issues of fairness, justice and issues of autonomy that are crucial when trying to assess the issues of internet services in China. By this, if the only way China can be peaceful and a good destination for investors is to overlook justice and fairness, then so be it (Van & Roeser, 2013).

The behavior of American companies in China may also be justified based on the theory of relativism. This theory considers the ethical obligations as well as beliefs to depend on the individual surroundings (Cavusgil et al., 2014, Woiceshyn, 2011, Broad, 2014). This means that the American companies had to behave depending on the environment where they operate. In such cases, if denying the right of access to internet information is considered illegal in America and the same is considered legal in China, then the conditions in China will prevail

There are a good number of lessons I can learn from Google Versus China's case. The first lesson I can learn is that businesses or investments exist with an aim of making profits at whatever cost in whichever place of operation (Bocken et al., 2014, Cant, 2016, Wilson, 2014). This is why Google had to compromise its ethical principles so as to gain acceptance by the China government. Gaining acceptance by the authorities in China implies that Google could go ahead and operate comfortably at reasonable profits as long as they work to please the government of China. In other words, failure to comply with the China's demansds also mean that Google could face threats from the government which consequently could also lead to their failure to offer their services to users in China. Google is a service provider which is known to have sound code of ethics that guides the users rights irrespective of their location of operation. Nevertheless, the code of ethics and principles could not work in China to an extent that they are ridiculed. But the truth of the matter is that Google had no option apart from allowing themselves to be ridiculed as long as they could be given the opportunity to invest in China. Therefore, profit-making remains a major reason of venturing in to business.

The second lesson I can learn from Google versus China is that rigid laws does not work successfully for investors or businesses. Google succeeded in their bid to invest in China as the providers of internet services because they deliberately compromised their own laws and regulations that governs their ethics and principles of operation worldwide. In this case, it is the prevailing laws and regulations of the government in place that decides the scope at which the investor will have to compromise its laws in order to fit in to the business environment.

The third lesson I can learn is that the prevailing circumstances of the business should guide the business manager on what decision to take and not the manager to give guidance in cases such as this. MacLean, for instance, was an international business manager for Google who thought of himself as a methodological manager of business-oriented projects. His attempts to apply his methods for Google in China could not bear any fruit in this case, meaning that he had less capacity to give advice on how Google will operate in China. It is the existing laws and regulations in the land of China that finally guided Google on how it had to operate for their successful investment in China. MacLean, as an example, was not interested in the launch of as a way of filtering the searches from the internet by Chinese users.

He wanted only the service to operate as a way of giving their users full right of entry in to internet.



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