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Why I’m Not Buying Google on this Dip

You would think that I’d be pounding the table getting you to buy the dominant Internet search engine after its shocking $160 (25%) fall this year, but you would be wrong. Basically, Google blew China, far and away the largest generator of world GDP growth for the next decade, and home of the greatest untapped market of Internet and search users. Google had very little choice in the matter. But, their exit was not the result of some high-minded, idealistic paean to freedom of speech for the Chinese people. Google was driven out, like a rampaging, man eating tiger, by relentless high level hacker attacks that threatened the very core of its intellectual property. These were launched by a variety of state funded enterprises, as well as from deep cover moles from within the company. Sergei Brin, the architect of the company’s China policy, naively expected the masses to rise up and demand unfettered access to Google. Wrong! The average Chinese worker is only interested in boosting his personal standard of living, and could care less about the fate of a foreign multinational. Brin could also have enlisted the help of the US government, which has enormous leverage over the Middle Kingdom by running a $227 billion trade deficit there (down from $268 billion the previous year). But, such assistance was never sought. Looks like the firm grown up, CEO Eric Schmidt, was out to lunch when these decisions were made. Google is the most high profile victim of an economic war that is rapidly heating up between the US and China (click here for more details). You’re better off using this dip to buy Chinese competitor Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), which I recommended at $125 in December, 2008 (click here for the call), before its run to $825. I’m so proud of that call, I still keep that “buy” ticket in my wallet next to my spare condom, so I can whip it out at bars and impress friends.