Getting ready for my trek to Starbucks
It underscores a key point: there are degrees of collaboration. There is a difference between complying with an objectionable law to the minimum extent possible, and doing everything you possibly can under the law to attempt to prove yourself “redder than red” in order to ingratiate your company with Chinese officials.
In reality, I think it is crossing that invisible but tangible line that concerns most of the sensible people who are concerned about the issue.
What is upsetting the blogosphere about the recent ruling in favor of Yahoo! Hong Kong, for example, is that there appears to be a perception that somewhere, somehow, Yahoo! crossed that line in China.
At some point, companies like Alibaba/Yahoo!, Google, and MSN (and possibly Cisco) are going to be called upon to prove that they live on the “doing the least possible” in terms of compliance to objectionable laws, and are indeed doing the most possible to improve things in the PRC.
And this time, it will certainly go beyond those four companies. By applying to build a semiconductor fabrication facility (“fab”) in Dalian, Intel and its activities in China – including its involvement with iCafes – will come under unprecedented scrutiny. That list will certainly grow, and I will guarantee it will reach the door of those companies who are financing China’s technology and Internet industries.
Today, Silicon Valley. Tomorrow Sand Hill Road and Wall Street.
Be ready, guys.