BEIJING -- Google Inc. chief executive Eric Schmidt yesterday defended the search engine company's cooperation with Chinese censorship as he unveiled the creation of a Beijing research center and launched a Chinese-language brand name.
Google is trying to raise its profile in China after waiting until January to launch its Chinese-language site Google.cn. Activists have criticized the company for blocking searches for material about Taiwan, Tibet, democracy, and other sensitive issues.
''We believe that the decision that we made to follow the law in China was absolutely the right one," Schmidt said.
He said Google had to accept restrictions to serve China, which has the world's second-largest population of Internet users, after the United States, with more than 111 million people online.
Schmidt also said the company will create a research center in Beijing that should have 150 employees by mid-2006 and ''eventually thousands of people." He said the center is meant to create products for markets worldwide, though planning is still in such an early stage that he said he didn't know what they might be.
Schmidt was speaking at a ceremony to launch Google's Chinese-language brand name -- ''Gu Ge," or ''Valley Song," which the company says draws on Chinese rural traditions to describe a fruitful and rewarding experience.
Talking to reporters later, Schmidt said Google's managers were stung by criticism that they accepted Chinese censorship, but said they haven't lobbied Beijing to change its rules.
''I think it's arrogant for us to walk into a country where we are just beginning to operate and tell that country how to operate," he said.
Asked whether Google might try to persuade Beijing to change its restrictions, Schmidt said he didn't rule anything out, but said it hasn't tried to change limits elsewhere. He noted that Google's site in Germany is barred from linking to Nazi-oriented material.
''There are many cases where certain information is not available due to local law or local custom," he said.
Schmidt said China accounts for only a small portion of Google's revenues because the company has only recently obtained a license to carry local advertising.