Google is/isn’t/might/mightn’t/will/won’t pull out of China over censorship and security concerns. Nobody really knows what the future may hold (although CEO Eric Schmidt’s forecast calls for a 99.9% chance of “something”)—including Google’s 27 Chinese ad resellers. In a letter to Google Monday, the resellers pleaded for some information.
As the home of tens of thousands of employees—a headcount they reached at Google’s behest—not to mention their clients and partners. Since Google’s announcement in January, business has dramatically dropped off (although Google has yet to make any changes). The resellers point out their dilemma (as translated by the WSJ):
There are altogether 27 Google reseller agencies for Google in China, and currently, they are all in the investment phase of Google-related business and have yet seen reasonable returns on their investment. If Google withdraws from China, then most of us will face possible bankruptcy or close-down, since up to now, as requested by Google, we have invested huge amounts of capital and efforts in our business. How will Google compensate for its resellers?
Without communication, it seems that Google’s plan may be to pay its partners with a “don’t let the door hit you on our way out.” Say the resellers:
At this moment, if Google tells us this is a business practice, and our clients, employees, and investors all should take our own commercial risks, we, as well as our clients, employees, investors and everyone absolutely will refuse to accept it!
The WSJ notes: “Not all the resellers listed as signatories in the letter had a part in drafting it, and each has a unique relationship under different terms with Google.”
Google acknowledges they’ve received the letter and are currently reviewing it. However, they’ve been reticent to comment on the discussion that are/aren’t going on with the Chinese government, and it looks like things are grinding to a halt.
What do you think? What kind of provisions should Google make for its resellers?