Eric Schmidt, ex-Google CEO, sees US, China internet split

Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt thinks there will be two versions of the internet within 10 years, one run by China and the other by the U.S.

Schmidt made the comments at a private venture capital event in San Francisco this week, as first reported by CNBC.

"I think the most likely scenario now is not a splintering, but rather a bifurcation into a Chinese-led internet and a non-Chinese internet led by America,” Schmidt said. “If you look at China … the scale of the companies that are being built, the services being built, the wealth that is being created is phenomenal … If you think of China as like 'Oh yeah, they're good with the Internet,' you're missing the point. Globalization means that they get to play too.”

Schmidt added that the “danger” that comes along with the innovative products being developed in Beijing is that a different leadership regime will emerge in government, along with censorship and controls. He said other countries may eventually adopt the censored Chinese infrastructure.

China has more than 800 million users, according to government figures, as reported by The Financial Times.

The Google exec, who served as CEO from 2001 through 2011, may have inside insight into industry trends, as the internet giant is reportedly developing a China-specific, censored version of the search engine in order to placate the government in Beijing. The browser would allegedly be able to suppress certain search results.

Google came under fire on Thursday when company emails were made public showing that employees discussed altering the search function in order to favor pro-immigration rhetoric.

Google said in a statement to FOX Business that none of the ideas were implemented and it has never manipulated search results.

Google did not immediately return FOX Business’ request for comment.