(Google-China-Baidu article updated with reports about a drop-off in advertising results for advertisers using Google in China.)NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Google's ( GOOG) decision to walk away from the world's most populous country in a battle over China's censorship rules was, to many, a bold and heroic move on the company's part. It was applauded by those who had grown cynical about the ability of big multinationals like Google to value basic principles, as much as they do their bottom line. For many, Google's refusal to acquiesce to China's censorship demands conveys a message of corporate and social responsibility. Amnesty International's China researcher Corinna-Barbara Francis says the stance is worth the price: "There is no question that adopting social responsibility policies -- at least in the West -- is good for your image and good for business, " The Sunday Times of London reports. Other companies might be looking to follow suit. Domain name company GoDaddy, for one, has decided to discontinue registrations of domain names in the country after the government pressured GoDaddy for personal information on customers. And according to some reports, Dell ( DELL) has also implied that it's looking to do business in a country offering a safer business environment that China, from which it buys large amounts of components; Dell has thus far denied these reports. Still, othere are those who feel that Google has made an imprudent business, and that by walking away from China -- and its 400 million Internet users -- Google is relinquishing valuable growth opportunities and doing its shareholders a disservice. In pulling out of China, Google is also turning its back on 700 million cellphone subscribers, also a valuable Internet market. Already, major mobile operator China Unicom ( CHU) said it would pull Google's search function from the new Android handsets that it worked on with Google. (China Unicom's president Lu Yimin told the Financial Times: "We are willing to work with any company that abides by Chinese law...; we don't have any cooperation with Google currently.") Google has, since then, decided to redirect its mainland China traffic to its search engine in Hong Kong -- an island metropolis long hailed for its model of social and political freedom. But it hasn't been working out too well; China's response has been to tighten its grip on mainland user traffic to Google's Hong Kong search engine. Meanwhile, Google's China competitor Baidu ( BIDU) is reaping the benefits of Google's fallout with the Chinese government. Baidu's price target was raised by Goldman Sachs ( GS) to $675 from $575, following Google's decision to move out of China and begin redirecting Web traffic to Hong Kong.
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