Google reaffirms commitment to China then terminates ad contracts

Google reaffirmed its commitment to China and then it’s announcing that it is terminating contracts with large Chinese advertising resellers on 27 October.

The conflict in emotions comes as Google’s vice president John Liu reaffirmed the search giant’s commitment to China, following its harsh battles with Beijing over censorship.

Speaking at a press conference in Beijing, Liu described China as a “very important market for Google.” He said that the company would “continue to provide the best products and services for users in China as in other markets”.

He said China had a huge potential for digital marketing as less than two million out of its 30-40 million small and medium-sized companies were currently able to sell their products online.

“Google, together with our team and partners, will spare no effort in helping China users and companies in digital marketing,” Liu said at the China 2.0 conference sponsored by Stanford University.

However, in the next breath Google decided that it no longer wants to work with China when it comes to advertising. The decision to terminate the contracts with the seven ad resellers in China, was announced back in September. But Google has now announced the termination date without giving reason.

“The letter was sent out to them on September 27… We gave them a month’s notice,” Cindy Qin, a spokeswoman for Google told Reuters, confirming it will take effect on October 27.

“We hope to find new resellers to partner with so we can provide even better service to our advertisers,” she added.

Google’s termination of the contracts with the resellers has caused uncertainty in the market and led to slower customer acquisitions by the search giant in China, analysts told Reuters.

The move could cause further friction. In July China renewed Google’s Internet Content Provider licence, after Google threatened to shut down its operations over what it said were China-based cyberattacks.

The renewal came after Google set up a new landing page at with links to its uncensored Hong Kong search engine, ending an automatic redirect that irritated authorities.

But Google has yet to get a licence to provide web mapping services in the country, which has an online population of at least 420 million.

The government said last month that it had granted the licences to 31 companies including Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia, but many other foreign firms including Google had not yet applied.