Google prepared an official statement for the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus which they were unable to attend on February 1st, 2006. The statement, which can be read in full on the Official Google Blog, explains in more detail the reasoning behind Google’s decision to enter the Chinese market.
The reasoning behind their entry into the market is sound. Google.com has always been accessible in China, though passed through filters controlled by the Chinese government. Google states,
Google’s users in China struggle with a service that is often unavailable, or painfully slow. According to our measurements, Google.com appears to be unavailable around 10% of the time. Even when users can reach Google.com, the website is slow, and sometimes produces results that, when clicked on, stall out the user?s browser. The Google News service is almost never available; Google Images is available only half the time.
So part of what they want to provide is a better user experience; this is consistent with their behaviors over the last several years. They continue on to state that they feel the only way to solve these problems is by "creating a local presence inside China". This is reasonable; but you can judge for yourself.
The most interesting part about their statement, in my mind, is the future planning section of the document – "Next Steps".
3. Government-to-Government Dialogue. In addition to common action by Internet companies, there is an important role for the United States government to address, in the context of its bilateral government-to-government relationships, the larger issues of free expression and open communication. For example, as a U.S.-based company that deals primarily in information, we have urged the United States government to treat censorship as a barrier to trade.
It will be interesting to see if they are able to make anything of this statement. Good luck to Google!