After All That Drama, Google China Loses Leader
Poor Google! The company's Chinese expansion hasn't been easy: they've been shamed for giving into government censors and continue to play second-fiddle to a state-supported competitor. And now they've lost their regional leader. What will become of the company?
Kai-Fu Lee joined the company back in 2004, when Google was beginning its adventure in earnest and became the giant's President of Google Greater China and vice president for engineering. Unfortunately, mean old Microsoft reared its head and sued Google, for Lee was bound by a pesky "no competition" contract clause. The companies eventually settled, and Google hoped to go full speed ahead into uncharted territories. China's government, however, had other plans, and soon lured the company into its controversial web of censorship and, to add insult to injury, favored competitor, Baidu.
Despite the uphill battle, Google has made a few strides in recent months and gained 6 percent on Baidu. But that means little, because Baidu still controls about 62% of search traffic, while Google has a scant 21%.
Now Lee has abandoned his post to pursue some hush-hush "new venture" in Beijing, and Google's attempting trying desperately to refocus its energies by splitting his duties between two executives while simultaneously double its sales force. After five years struggling to be the big wig, you would think Google would give up on imposing its capitalist ideals amidst an aggressive communist state. But that's the magic of the internet: it's a field of ambitious dreams rife with international and political barriers.