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April 13, 2006, 12:24 am
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Google has launched its Chinese service with bullish growth forecasts
and a robust defence of its decision to limit user access to certain
Chief executive Eric Schmidt said that sales growth "will obviously be
large" and Google expects to have thousands of software engineers
working in China.
He also said that Google had no choice but to accept restrictions if
it wanted access to China's internet market.
The number of internet users in China is set to top 187 million in two
Mr Schmidt was speaking as Google unveiled the name of its Chinese
service, which is "Gu Ge" or "Valley Song".
The search engine firm has offered a Chinese language service for a
number of years, but "Gu Ge" is a new venture.
Google was criticised earlier this year when it agreed to adhere to
Chinese government censorship rules in order to launch its new site.
"I think it's arrogant for us to walk into a country where we are just
beginning to operate and tell that country how to operate," Mr Schmidt
The company has argued that it would be more damaging for civil
liberties if it pulled out of China entirely.
"We believe that the decision that we made to follow the law in China
was absolutely the right one," he said.
China's government enforces strict laws on internet use, blocking
content it considers a threat, including references to the Tiananmen
Square massacre and notable dissidents.
Google also unveiled plans to create a research centre in Beijing that
should employ 150 workers by the middle of this year.
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