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China

Google Or Baidu? Chinese Have Their Say In Short-Lived Survey

The U.S. web giant may be planning a return to China. But would web users there actually embrace it? An online pull (that mysteriously disappeared after just a few hours) offers some hints.

Looking for the right tech giant?
Looking for the right tech giant?

Bring it! That's the message Chinese tech giant Baidu delivered this week amid talk that Google is planning a return to China. "We are very confident we can just PK and win again," is how the company's founder and CEO, Robin Li, put it. PK is short for "player-kill," a gaming term.

Tough talk indeed. But is it justified? To help answer that question, the Chinese internet company Sina Finance conducted an online poll. The goal was to gauge net-user preferences in China, and the results were extremely encouraging — for Google.

Approximately 2,200 people participated in the poll within just the first 15 minutes, and of them, an overwhelming 85.7% let it be known that, given the choice, they'd go Google, the Central News Agency reported. Only 6.6% opted for Baidu.

Baidu

Less than one in ten surveyed chose Baidu over Google — Source: Official Facebook page

Things leveled out a bit as time when on, but still, the results clearly favored the Silicon Valley firm. After two hours, with 17,500 votes cast, 72.8% of respondents had opted for Google versus just 21.7% for its Chinese rival.

Perhaps if the poll had continued for seven days, as originally planned, Baidu would have staged a major comeback. Or not. Either way, it's impossible to know, because for some reason, Sina Finance pulled the proverbial plug on the poll just hours after launching it.

Many suspect Baidu was behind the poll's premature demise. Or perhaps the order to stop the voting came from the Chinese authorities — to "harmonize" society. To save face, in other words.

What is clear is that the results of the short-lived poll don't bode well for Baidu, especially given the criticism Google is receiving for its rumored plan to launch a pre-censored search engine in China. Some are accusing the U.S. firm of "self-castration." And yet, if the Sina Finance numbers are any indicator, Chinese web users still put more trust in Google than in the homegrown Baidu.

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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