This is the VOA Special English Economics Report, fromhttp://voaspecialenglish.com
China says it has passed Germany and become the world's top exporter. Exports totaled more than one trillion dollars last year. That was down from two thousand eight, but about thirty billion more than Germany. China's influence in the world has increased with its fast-growing economy. The United States remains the largest economy. China is third and gaining on Japan.
Manufacturing has expanded, fueling exports. But China has not imported as much as its trade partners would like. Its policies about valuing its currency and its human rights record have also created tensions.
And now there is a new dispute. China is the world's largest Internet market, but Google says it may leave. The company said it was targeted by a major Internet attack launched from China in December. It says "intellectual property" was stolen and the attackers sought access to Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. At least twenty other large companies in different industries were also targeted.
Also, the company said it is no longer willing to censor search results as required by Chinese law. Google says it is still observing censorship laws, but it will hold talks with the government in the coming weeks.
Google.cn launched four years ago. Google is estimated to have around a thirty percent share of the search market in China. But that is only about half the share of the Chinese search engine Baidu. Baidu also reported an attack on its Web site in January.
Online advertising sales in China are estimated to bring Google only a few hundred million dollars a year. Not much for such a big company, notes business expert Fariborz Ghadar at Penn State University.
He says Google has to make a decision. It can stay in China. Or it can move out so as to protect its name and brand because of the restrictions and cyber attacks.
Online activity in China is closely watched and the government tries to limit access to many sites, including VOA.
In January, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said "China's Internet is open" and that Chinese law bars cyber attacks. Another government official said China itself is the victim of a growing number of foreign attacks.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she would like an explanation from the Chinese about Google's accusations. And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report. You can find more reports about economics at voaspecialenglish.com.