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Google in China: Global Technology Concerns


Transcultural global ethics is a subject that raises several heated discussions in the field of business. The situation with Google quitting China contributes to that topic since it raises a conversation about how global companies should conduct their business while respecting human rights. After all, Google is a worldwide market leader in information technology since it provides a top-quality search engine that is used around the world. That is why when Google shut down the Chinese search engine, it started a controversy regarding business ethics. The article states that China has strict censorship and the country’s laws are not in favor of human rights, some activists even suffered a cyber attack (Waddell, 2016, para. 2). The main question is if the company did the right thing in regards to human rights.

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Google values transcultural global ethics, hence their decision to deny access to the search engine. Moreover, it should be noted that in this case, Google discarded its financial benefits in favor of human rights. At first, the company tried to resolve the problem by offering at least some access to their services, but after the attacks refused to comply with the government’s demands to filter search results (Waddell, 2016, para 4). It means that at the beginning, Google to find the compromise and got rejected. However, it is doubtful if the company’s operations have been consistent because by shutting down its engines, Google made the right to information unavailable to Chinese citizens. While the action was made concerning human rights, it contradicts the principle of equality. The idea that was expressed by some researchers tells that “it is necessary to achieve universality, objectivity, and non-selectivity in the application of human rights standards” (Mangini, 2016, p. 267). For this reason, the decision can be considered controversial.

Moreover, since Google is a global company, it should take into account not only American laws on freedom but the laws of other countries as well. Sometimes these laws include restrictions of speech, but American companies should consider abiding by them nonetheless. It does not mean that in pursuance of business benefits, Google should dismiss fundamental values like human rights. However, what the company can do is to try negotiating with the Chinese government to find a way that will satisfy the demands of both sides.

Some other factors should be taken into consideration while maintaining business ethically. For example, sourcing supplies is another controversial issue because many companies are seeking the lowest prices for resources or services. Nevertheless, customers care about the origin of the product, that is why, if the company is caught conducting unethical business, it can receive public backlash. To ensure that the organization follows ethical standards, the company should purchase material at fair prices from reliable sources. Moreover, the supply chain should be transparent, so the consumers are confident that the rules of ethics are followed.


The other significant concern of international business is bribery. According to researchers, “the illegal nature of corruption and bribery imposes high costs on business and ultimately hurts firms’ performance” (Law, 2015, p. 1). Moreover, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act imposes severe penalties on companies that use bribes. As a result, organizations that are eager to gain benefits from conducting business abroad are at high risk of breaking those rules. It may seem tempting to pay off for obtaining business overseas; however, the sanctions for violating American laws are much higher.


Law, L. (2015). The demand side of transnational bribery and corruption: Why leveling the playing field on the supply side isn’t enough. Fordham Law Review, 84(2), p. 563.

Mangini, M. (2016). From transcultural rights to transcultural virtues: Between western and Islamic ethics. European Journal of Legal Studies, 9, pp. 250-300.

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Waddell, K. (2016). Why Google quit China – and why it’s heading back. The Atlantic. Web.

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