Chinese execs calls for Google talks

Chinese execs calls for Google talks

A group of 27 Chinese advertising agencies have sent Google a letter calling for talks over compensation for possible business losses if the Internet giant pulls out of the country.

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The letter, confirmed Wednesday by Google and one of the agencies, complained that the US firm had kept them in the dark about whether it plans to make good on a threat to leave China over censorship and cyberattacks.

The 27 advertising resellers complained Google has had no consultations with them since it said in January it was considering pulling the plug on google.cn, its Chinese search engine.

A copy of the letter was posted on the website of state-run China Central Television (CCTV).

“The only thing we can do is to wait — in unbearable agony and anxiety,” the agencies said in the letter.

“If Google tells us now that we, our clients, employees and investors have to bear the commercial risks of their business move… we absolutely cannot accept it!” they said.

An official with one of the companies listed on the letter told AFP on condition of anonymity that the firm had signed the letter.

The letter was sent this week to John Liu, a Google vice president who oversees sales and business development in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Google China spokeswoman Marsha Wang confirmed to AFP the company had received the letter.

“We are reviewing it,” she told AFP, declining to provide further details.

The firms called on Google to open “immediate negotiations” with them to discuss possible compensation to clients, employees and investors.

Google has threatened to leave China over what it said were cyberattacks aimed at its source code and the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

In the interim, the company has continued to filter results on google.cn, but said it would stop eventually.

Beijing tightly controls online content in a vast system dubbed the “Great Firewall of China”, removing information it deems harmful — including pornography and violence, but also politically sensitive material.

The Financial Times reported at the weekend that Google was “99.9 percent” certain to move forward with plans to abandon google.cn, citing an unnamed source.