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Before Bowing To Beijing, US Tech Companies Should Take A Lesson Or Two From Google And Qualcomm

To do business in China, US tech companies must do several things: find a local partner (usually a Party member), comply with ever-changing business rules, and bow to Beijing.

Yes, bow. Yield to Beijing’s formal and informal allegations of wrongdoing, and sign “pledge” documents.

But before they comply with this sort of demand from Beijing, US tech companies should take a close look at the Google way and the Qualcomm way dealing with Beijing.

When Google was faced with a mandate by the Chinese government to install filters to its search engine, the company chose to say no, and leave the world’s largest Internet market.

When Qualcomm was faced with a complaint brought by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) for violating the country’s anti-monopoly law last year, the company chose to settle, paying near-one billion dollars, and agreeing to the rules described by the Chinese government.

Which response is right? In principle, Google’s.

Its decision to stand up to China’s surveillance policies is consistent with the “don’t do evil” strategy.

Leaving China, Google has suffered a great deal in missed earnings. But that’s...