Over the past year, Google and China have had a tenuous relationship. If you remember, back in January, Google pulled the censors off of its search service after it alleged that China had attacked and hacked the GMail accounts of Chinese dissents. Eventually, and under a Chinese ultimatum, it pulled out of China altogether in a move that many lauded as exemplary and in line with Google's unofficial tagline of "don't be evil."
But in an interview with The Times of London, Google’s chief financial officer said the company is still interested in the Chinese market.
Fox Business reports that Patrick Pichette said last year's clash was merely a "roadblock" that:
... it was not the end. “China has 1.2 billion people. For Google to say, ‘We’re going to live on our mission, but not serve 1.2 billion people’ — it just doesn’t work. China wants Google.”
The website Search Engine Land expands on the financial part of Google's thinking:
Google is finding it very difficult to resist the lure of the largest internet and mobile market in the world — and the potential revenue that it represents.
Baidu reportedly had a 73 percent share of the Chinese search market in Q3, while Google had 21.6 percent. Google now has an 8.9 percent share of the current Chinese advertising market, behind Baidu and portal Alibaba.
Currently Google still operates in China, but it offers search in only a tiny portion of subjects.
In the interview, Pichette didn't talk ideology instead he said that censored results hurt Google's brand:
"[If] you were in China last week, two weeks ago, and you typed in Nobel Peace Prize — there were no results. Think of Google’s brand now. You’re Chinese, you know that’s not true, that the Nobel Peace Prize has not disappeared from the face of the earth. There lies the issue of brand. There lies the issue of our mission.”
“You have the right to know who won the Nobel Peace Prize this year. For us to actually not have any of these results, it doesn’t make sense to filter any more. That’s why we took the stance we took."