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China has been known for “ The Great Firewall of China” because its government has control over the Internet access. As a communist country, China started to take control over the Internet in 1997, preventing users from creating or spreading contents that might cause the ideologies to collapse. We can see that China is blocking social network such as Facebook and Youtube. Moreover, most of the contents in Google are blocked by the great firewall as well. However, the great population in China makes this “Wall” sustainable. We can imagine how much Youku, Weibo, Renren and Wechat are generating from just one demographic but a huge population of people.
Currently, China shuts down 50 websites and social media accounts from its most popular social media, Wechat, stated by Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). The main reasons are mostly because there are content that violate the regulation or not allowed by the government posted. Besides, the government of China has even become more sophisticated on combating tools that help users in China access to offshore websites or social media, such as VPN or proxy.However, this means that China is giving away many opportunities for commerce.
Personally, I believe this would not last long since this is a barrier for China to keep the innovative thoughts, brilliant ideas in its Internet database. It is stated that more and more Internet companies are listed in US and Hong Kong as foreign multinationals, meaning that China has no control over these companies. People in China who has no access to international websites are losing chance to be competitive to others because the information provided “within the wall” is limited. Besides, the function of social media is to make the contents public and interacting. The social media being blocked by China might limit the audiences just within a country. However, the importance of customer base of China’s social media network cannot be neglected. But there is one thing that we are sure about is cloud computing models will drive the users of China network out to international Internets.
- How do you think blocking social media or controlling the content on it would decrease innovation in China?
- Regarding social media, do you think that if China opens its Internet access to other social media (compare with those that the functions are more or less the same) that are currently blocked, such as Youtube, Facebook.etc., the ones in China will lose their competitiveness? Why?