Google's decision to close its censored Chinese search engine has analysts buzzing, as industry insiders try to determine what the final effects will be on the growing Asian market. The Internet giant is now directing Chinese users, numbering in the tens of millions, to its uncensored Hong Kong search engine.
Some analysts say the move will restrict the advertising dollars Google is able to pull in, while others say China's government may block the Hong Kong site all together.
From the New York Times:
“It's going to boil down to whether authorities feel it is acceptable for users to be redirected to that site without having to figure it out themselves,” said Mark Natkin, managing director of Marbridge Consulting, a Beijing-based technology research firm. At the same time, Mr. Natkin said that the government might still be wary of agitating loyal Google users in China, who tend to be highly educated and vocal. “To block Google entirely is not necessarily a desirable outcome for the government,” he said.
Meanwhile, some Chinese businesses have already announced their intention to stop using Google's search engine, including mobile Internet company Tom Online.