Everything about China and it's culture

Everything about China and it's culture

  • Category Archives Internet in China
  • Google’s big move

    All those weeks of talks finally came to a head early this morning, as Google stopped censoring its search results in China. Instead of google.cn, users are being directed to an uncensored version of google.com.hk in simplified Chinese. On the company’s official blog, Google’s Senior Vice President David Drummond says that routing through Hong Kong is a legal move, although the Chinese government can still block access to the site. By doing so, Google can continue to offer its search engine to Chinese users outside the jurisdiction of mainland Chinese law, a move the WSJ quotes a source as saying seems to be an “elegant solution if it were to hold,” but China will most likely not allow it to continue.

    But we learned all about that in the wee hours of the morning. In the day that’s followed, the world over has exploded with opinions and commentary – almost as much as when Google first announced it was pulling out of the country.

    Reaction from the Chinese government has been swift and uncompromising. Google has "violated its written promise" and has made ";unreasonable accusations," Xinhua quotes a government official as saying. On the U.S. side, Washington released a statement saying it was "disappointed" that Google could not reach an agreement with Beijing although it respected its decision. The administration is “committed to Internet freedom and … opposed to censorship. While we seek to expand cooperation on issues of mutual interest with China, we will candidly and frankly address areas of disagreement,” said National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer.

  • Google.cn almost certainly to be no more

    The big piece of news over the weekend is that Google is now, in fact, 99.9% certain it will be shutting down its China search engine operations after negotiations… well, didn’t go so well?

    It seems like Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s comments that the whole debacle was drawing to a close were true – though perhaps not in the way Google had hoped. Li Yizhong, Minister of Industry and Information Technology, words for if Google did follow up on its threat to uncensor search results were equally threatening: "If you don’t respect Chinese laws, you are unfriendly and irresponsible, and the consequences will be on you."

    Anyway, to get everyone up to speed, here’s some conjecture, speculation and official opinions on the whole shebang from a smattering of web news sources:

    • According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is likely to "take action within weeks." Also, Chinese authorities have already told local news sites that if Google.cn does shut down, they are only to publish the "official accounts of the situation."
    • Google’s biggest web partners have also been warned that "they should prepare backup plans in case Google ceases censoring the results of searches," says the New York Times. These web partners include Sina and Ganji, who both use Google search boxes.
    • Google China has not yet released a statement in response, but a Beijing-based spokesperson for the company said its business was still "normal," according to the Global Times. Wang Jinhong denied media reports that Google employees are planning to resign in droves after the company doles out its year-end bonus at the end of March.
    • Premier Wen Jiabao has reiterated that despite what’s happening with certain foreign companies (though he didn’t mention which), the country welcomes them to legally operate in China and that they are treated equally.
    • At least one other foreign company is profiting from Google’s possible oust: Microsoft is putting its Bing search engine on Chinese Android phones… specifically, the new ones from Motorola.

  • Online Market Flourishes in China

    As a college senior, Yang Fugang spent most of his days away from campus this year, managing an online store that sold cosmetics, shampoo and other goods he often bought from local factories.

    Today, that store on Taobao.com — the fast-growing Chinese online shopping bazaar — has 14 employees, two warehouses and piles of cash.

    “I never thought I could do this well,” said Mr. Yang, 23, who earned $75,000 last year. “I started out selling yoga mats and now I’m selling a lot of makeup and cosmetics. The profit margins are higher.”

    Taobao fever has swept the school Mr. Yang attends, Yiwu Industrial and Commercial College, where administrators say that a quarter of the 8,800 students enrolled operate Taobao shops, often from dormitory rooms.

    And across China, millions of other ordinary people — recent college graduates, shopkeepers and retirees — are also using Taobao to sell clothes, mobile phones, toys and just about anything else they can find at neighborhood stores and wholesale markets or even smuggle out of factories.

    Analysts say this booming marketplace — reminiscent of the early days of eBay, when Americans started emptying their attics for online auctions — has turned Taobao into China’s newest Internet darling.

    Though just six years old, Taobao — which means “to search for treasure” in Chinese — already has 120 million registered users and 300 million product listings, and generated nearly $15 billion in sales last year.


  • The not-so-secret life of Chinese hackers

    Most of the time when you read stories about the much reviled Chinese hacker it’s in the context of some cyberattack perpetrated on some website that has stupidly dared to hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. But really, what are Chinese hackers doing most of the time: well, duh, same thing everybody else is: trying to make some moolah.

    But how much money we hear the anxious parents of deadbeat teenagers say. Well, we recently came across an article about a 17 year-old hacker that could make 50K RMB/month. And the hacker interviewed for that article claims that this is only an "average" amount. Hackers, the bulk of whom in China seem to be (based only on anecdotal evidence) between the ages of 17 and 35, work both as individuals and in "teams", offshoots of their hacker societies and networks that have become increasingly commercialized and profit-oriented.


  • Turning online dating into online living together

    On-line dating is already one of the most successful business ventures to spring out of dot com mania, but it looks like one Shanghai based company is going to take the dating service idea one step further.

    915915.com.cn is trying a new approach, according to Shanghai Daily – it sets up its matched couples in "love apartments" located in Xujiahui or Zhangjiang High Tech Park. The company thinks that giving people a longer period to interact than just a date will increase the success rate of on-line matchmaking services.

    Now before you get any naughty ideas in your head we should let you know that these on-line wannabe love birds will be monitored by "life coaches" from 915915.com.cn.

    We agree that current online dating services are kind of hit or miss when it comes to pairing you up with your mate for life… but we’re not sure we like where this is going. As more and more companies continue to bring their services to Shanghai, are they going to continue to get more complex?

    They have you living in apartments together with your e-match today – what’s next? Adopting a puppy? Cosigning on a mortgage? Going straight to divorce proceedings?

    We still think that if you’re going to give on-line dating a shot it should be through the simplest method possible like on-line personals (hint hint).

    Personally, we’re staunchly holding onto the era where you worked up the courage to ask that special someone out because the two of you locked eyes across a crowded room… not because some online medium calculated your personality percentages and decided you were algorithmically meant for each other (and then tested out its hypothesis by throwing the two of you into an apartment in the Shanghai boondocks).

  • Google “Feeling Lucky” in Chinese market with new MP3 search

    Go back ten years ago in the U.S., when the internet was scattered with various search engines and most people had their own favorite – Yahoo, AOL, Dogpile, or Hotbot. The landscape is now completely different. Google, with its nearly 70% of market share is the undisputed king of the internet. Heck, people in the States don’t even "search online" anymore. They "Google."

    It’s not quite the same over here in China, where Google’s paltry 25.9% of market share pales in comparison to local favorite Baidu.com’s 60.1% in January. Even that big scandal last year over Baidu hiding news and offering paid searches didn’t hurt them that much.

    But Google’s hasn’t given up on that elusive first place goal, and according to the BBC, they’re going to try for it by offering Chinese nationals access to free music download sites.

    Only one problem: That’s not much of a trump card. Not only does Baidu already have an mp3 search, but unlike your allegedly legal one (which shares ad revenue with major record labels), Baidu’s tramples over copyrights like an elephant stampeding through anthills. Efforts to sue the online juggernaut into complying with copyright law have yet to prove fruitful.

    Still, we appreciate that Google’s trying, and we like that it’s adding nifty little features like Songscreener– which helps you choose songs based on your mood, and set tones, timbres and age ranges – as well as working on a voice search.

    And frankly, even if we’re as doubtful right now of Google’s future success as Baidu (and quite honestly, what do we know? We used Altavista until it folded), we welcome any and all opportunities to not pay for music.

  • State of the Internet in China

    According to the China Internet Network Information Center, China’s internet population continued to boom in 2008, ending the year with some 298 million among its ranks. That’s up from the 253 million figure that was released mid-year, and is 88 million more than the end-of-year figure from 2007. Much of this growth can be attributed to the rural areas of the country, which saw a 60.8% increase in numbers (compared to a growth rate of "only" 35.6% growth among us city-slickers).

    Of the 22.6% of the country that now has access to the Internet, 162 million blog, while 234 million log on to read up on the news.


  • Chinese Googlers a completely different breed

    Just as the rest of the world is getting swept away in a social networking frenzy, googling for keywords such as "Badoo", "Facebook", "Ebuddy", "Hi5" and even "Second Life", Chinese googlers it seems are a completely different species. In 2007, four out of the top ten keywords among Chinese googlers were wealth-related, searching for keywords such as "stock", "China Merchants Bank", "Industrial and Commercial Bank of China" and "China Construction Bank". Bank of China is conspicuously absent from the list!

    In the technology arena, they have preferred to search for instant messaging services such as "QQ" (in pole position) and "MSN" (#10). Other favourites were "games", "Kaspersky" (an anti-virus programme) and "Thunder" (a download software) and Google Earth. Their international counterpart preferred to search for video-sharing services like "Youtube" and "Dailymotion" instead. Top keyword worldwide was the "Iphone".

    Other interesting finds:


  • Google to focus on mobile Internet in China

    Google says it’s grappling with an unusual challenge in China’s Internet market — how to cater to masses of Web surfers who go online for the first time via mobile devices, rather than migrating from PCs.

    That is prompting the company to design new products tailored to the local market, and it may make more acquisitions in the country to help that along, Lee Kai-fu, Google Inc’s president for greater China, said on Thursday.

    "China has a large mobile opportunity, with so many mobile users who will become mobile Internet users in the next few years as 3G and other technologies become pervasive," Lee said in an interview.

    "These mobile users have very different usage patterns from the American users. Most Chinese users who touch mobile Internet will have no PC at all.


  • China’s Growing Web Addiction

    The Internet has revolutionized the way that millions in China communicate with the outside world. But for some Chinese teenagers the thrill of using the Internet came with a high price: addiction.

    Just an Ordinary Teen

    Luo Junwen seems like many other 16-year olds. He’s into psychology, sports, and the Internet. But unlike most teenagers, going online wasn’t just for fun. It became an addiction.

    "I’m crazy for the internet. I go to sleep at 5 or 6 a.m. and wake up at 1 or 2 p.m. to get online. After I shower and get food, I go online." Luo said.


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