Leaders in Beijing seem to be holding a long grudge against Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), following its high-profile withdrawal from the China market in 2010 after a dispute over self-censorship policies. That’s the only conclusion I can draw from the latest news in this stormy relationship, which has seen China emerge as the lone major country that has yet to approve Google’s pending purchase of Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI), the faded giant that was once the world’s second largest cellphone maker. All major governments have approved the deal announced last August, in what looks to me like an easy call for most anti-monopoly regulators as Google doesn’t make cellphones and Motorola Mobility is now just a relatively small player in the competitive space anyhow. But for some reason, China’s anti-monopoly regulator has not only failed to approve the deal more than half a year after it was first announced, but has actually said it will need extra time to make a decision. (Chinese article) Exactly why the Chinese regulator needs so much time to make what should be a relatively easy decision is hard for me to determine, which is why I can only guess that Beijing still harbors some bad feelings towards Google. Readers will recall that Google made global headlines in 2010 with its departure from China, which cast a spotlight on the self-policing that all web sites are forced to do under Chinese law to eliminate sensitive content from their sites, creating lots of negative global publicity for Beijing. Since then, China has dragged its feet in a number of decisions relating to Google. First it delayed before finally approving a renewal of the registration for Google’s China Internet domain, Google.cn; and more recently it has sparred with Google over the licensing of its mapping service in China, which is reportedly still awaiting final approval. (previous post) I previously said I thought Beijing and Google had moved past their bad feelings from the 2010 dispute, but perhaps some conflict still remains. Still, I do believe that both sides realize they need each other and can’t really afford to fight too much, as Google’s Android is now the world’s most popular smartphone operating system and China is the world’s largest mobile market. There’s also an interesting side element to this story which may not even be Google-related, in that Motorola’s sale of its networking equipment business last year to Nokia Siemens Networks also ran into repeated unexplained delays in approval from China last year. Then the deal was suddenly approved after an unrelated patent dispute between Motorola and Huawei was settled, leading some, myself included, to suspect the 2 actions were related. (previous post) It’s hard to say if there might be a similar related element this time as none is apparent; but hopefully China has learned by now that its approval of major global M&A shouldn’t be tied to unrelated matters.
Bottom line: China’s delays in approving Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility point to lingering distrust by Beijing towards Google.
Related postings 相关文章: