Google will introduce the sleek touchscreen phone to software developers in Hong Kong and Taiwan next week, but will not stage a similar event in Beijing as developers were originally expecting, said a source close to the company, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the situation’s sensitivity.
“If Google did not have such an issue with the Chinese government, they would have conducted a similar event in China too,” said the source.
In January, Google threatened to shut its Chinese Google.cn portal and pull back from China, citing problems of censorship and a hacking attack from within the country.
Shortly after it announced the high-profile threat, Google delayed the launch of two mobile phones in China which use its Android platform.
Analysts have said a showdown between Google and the Chinese government could hurt mobile phone makers who had bet on the Android system to increase sales in the world’s biggest mobile market.
In soothing words for investors, a Chinese industry official said late last month that Beijing would not seek to limit the use of Android mobile phones in China.
The standoff has also made many staff at Google’s China operations worried about their jobs, the source said.
Google is currently looking to fill dozens of jobs, including sales, business development and research and development in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, according to a job post on its website (here).
It was not immediately clear if the number of job postings was higher than usual.
Google’s Beijing-based spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.
Google has been reportedly talking with the Chinese government over both the censorship and hacking issues in a bid to resolve the matter.
It hasn’t commented publicly on those discussions, but sources told the New York Times last week the sophisticated hacking attack that set off the standoff may have originated in two Chinese schools, including one with military ties.
China has labeled Google’s assertions that its computers were attacked by hackers based in China as groundless.