Google’s China head Dr John Liu steps down after six controversy-filled years in the role

Google’s China head Dr John Liu steps down after six controversy-filled years in the role

Google is changing the head of its business in China after it confirmed that current country boss Dr John Liu will step down in search of a new challenge after six years in the role.

Liu — who earned his doctorate from Tekniske University in Denmark — will leave in August having presided over a period of great change for Google in China, which included the Internet giant’s controversial exit from the country in 2010 following allegations that the Chinese government hacked into email accounts belonging to activists.

His tenure also included a major incident around the Android mobile platform last year, when Alibaba claimed that pressure from Google resulted in Acer cancelling the launch of a smartphone based on its Aliyun Android-fork.

Google confirmed Dr Liu’s exit, providing TNW with the following statement:

After nearly 6 years leading our China business, Dr. John Liu has decided to pursue other opportunities. Dr. Liu has been instrumental to developing Google’s business in China and we are grateful for his contributions. We will miss him and wish him the best of luck.

The company also confirmed that Scott Beaumont, an executive who manages Google’s partnerships business in Europe, will fill the void in China from mid-August. Google says Beaumont, who has no prior experience of working in China, will “focus on helping Chinese businesses of all sizes grow locally and globally.”

Google’s business in China is a shadow of what it was at its peak, though it still offers Web services and focuses on mobile with ad business AdMob. Since redirecting its search engine to Hong Kong, its share of the country’s search industry has fallen. According to statistics released this month, Google sits in fifth place with a meager 2 percent share of China’s search market.

The company still has controversial moments in China. Last November, the Chinese government blocked access to a bevy of services — including, Gmail, Google Maps and Google Docs — while the Communist Party held its 18th Annual Party Congress.

Headline image via Feng Li/AFP/Getty Images

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