Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Google vs. China; McGuire vs. Hall of Fame Voters; Pacquiao vs. Mayweather

Google announced yesterday that it may pull out of China. Evidently they're fed up with Chinese censorship and/or being pushed around by the bureaucracy there.

408. I do not quite understand what this means. How would a search engine stop doing business in an entire country? Couldn't Chinese people still link to other countries' Google sites? Or would they be firewalled somehow?

409. To what extent are the NFL playoffs being covered in China? Has the NBA become as popular in China as was envisioned with Yao Ming's superstardom?

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Tuck sent me a Wall Street Journal article (by Ian Johnson, here) about Google's move. It nicely summarizes the growing sense of frustration among western companies:

The Google syndrome caps growing complaints by foreign businesses over a deteriorating business environment. Both the European and U.S. Chambers of Commerce have issued reports sharply critical of China's business environment. During the 1980s and '90s, foreign businesses were assiduously courted by China's leaders and responded by bringing to China technology, training and international best practices.

In recent years, however, foreign businesses have complained that the official line has shifted. Younger bureaucrats are more nationalistic and skeptical of the value of letting in foreign companies, Mr. Wuttke says. Last year, for example, foreign executives said bidding practices for wind energy were rigged to exclude foreign companies.

Tuck, Liz and I had an extremely interesting conversation about business with China during Christmas. It made me second-guess my prior assumption that US entrepreneurs would stay full-steam ahead on the China connection, and the Google development is now reinforcing my second guess. Ultimately, though, I feel like China's got the money and therefore holds the cards in the economic relationship with (1) individual American business people and (2) our country as a whole.
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There are several big stories in the sports world this week:
  1. Lane Kiffin unexpectedly bailed on Tennessee and took the head coaching job at USC. The Vols' fans are p-i-s-s-e-d.

  2. Mark McGuire came out with an extended interview with Bob Costas (followed by a number of other interviews) in which he finally admitted to steroid use. He's stating that he used them only for medical reasons and they did not affect his performance, so some commentators remain quite critical.

  3. Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather cancelled their much ballyhooed $50 million fight that had been scheduled for March. Evidently Mayweather accused Pacquiao of steroid use. Pacquiao is definitely the boxer about whom there's been the most buzz in the past couple of years, so I think this is a significant negative development for the sport of boxing (not that I care; although I have fun memories of watching two "event" boxing matches in my life (once at Borwhat's and once at Kimrey's in Annapolis), the sport does not do it for me.

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