The blank page starts with unlimited potential. But each word you add reduces its possibilities.…
Duncan Clark, an analyst at the Beijing hi-tech consultancy BDA, says he sees a “mismatch” in perception between the Chinese authorities and the foreign firms doing business here.
“People here think no-one can do without China, and I think now some companies are thinking no-one can deal with China,” he told the French news agency AFP.
“There is a feeling that China is emboldened and that they don’t need to have the same sort of dialogue [as before],” he said.
Google’s senior US executives are well aware of the Chinese preference for gradual change, and also of the authorities’ likely resistance on a matter of such ideological importance to them as control of the internet, an arena described by a senior public security official just a few weeks ago as a “battlefield”.
Some analysts see Google’s announcement as a gambit for what will be extremely tough negotiations with the Chinese, rather than an ultimatum.
But others suggest that the more Google bent towards the demands of the Chinese government, the more harm was done to its reputation overseas, and at some point it had to make a stand.