China shuts 50 Websites and social media accounts

Link to the article:

http://www.businessinsider.com/r-china-shuts-50-websites-and-social-media-accounts-2015-1

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.

Questions:

  1. How do you think blocking social media or controlling the content on it would decrease innovation in China?
  1. 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?

Yun-Chen, Tsai

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8 thoughts on “China shuts 50 Websites and social media accounts

  1. More sources of information will no doubt benefit people’s innovation. When I was in China I can’t use google to search, which I felt I can’t get access to more useful information that is available on the internet. I can’t even log on to my gmail account, making it somewhat difficult to communicate with other part of the world. In this sense I feel like the government is minimizing people’s opportunity to explore. But social media after all, is not the source for people to explore for knowledge or conduct commerce most of the time. Blocking social media may not have a fundamental effect on decreasing people’s innovation desire and ability, but it no doubt has a negative effect.

    China blocked social media platforms primarily because of political reasons. Local brand protection came as second. I think people choose to use different social platform to satisfy different needs and communicate with different people. I don’t think the social platform in China will lose competitiveness since people have already built their own community. If the blocked platforms are open again, people would still use their Chinese social platforms, maybe just start to use more platforms altogether.

    • Thanks Daixun.

      I agree with you to some extend. The politics comes before the protection of the China’s local brand. However, what I concerned about was not just the social media platforms for communication but the content posted in those Websites, such as Youtube or Facebook. There is no doubt that Chinese people will stick with Youku or Renren (the Chinese version of Youtube and Facebook), but the content provided might not be ignored in my point of view.

  2. Blocking Social Media in China prevents innovation, but it also does very little to help their internal economy. Chinese businesses are limited in their marketing efforts. By blocking Social Media, the Chinese government is crippling its commerce. Business owners are forced to rely on antiquated marketing strategies, and are at a disadvantage by not being able to make use of resources that other countries may take for granted.

    I think that China should not block access to any kind of Social Media. I believe that as long as the country does, as a whole, it losses any competitive advantage. I also believe that China should take a macro view of the implications of blocking Internet content, instead of a micro perspective, as it is very limiting.

    • To my point of view, blocking social media or controlling the content by the government will definitely limited the creativeness and even have bad influences in many aspects but still it is the things that government have to do. There are lots of greats things in those websites like Facebook and may help people in China broaden the eyesight. There are also many contents sharply attack China and the Communist Party. I won’t judge the ideology, but in the perspective of China’s government, keeping those contents from its people, especially young people are necessary. Of course, I personally hope those blocking and controlling can be disappeared. It will help to raise an open environment and good for protect creation and innovation. Knowing what people from other side of the earth think is of highly important to us after all.

    • Thank you for your reply.

      In my opinion, I think China still holds an advantage of its huge population among the world. Whether opening to the outer world would drive the users out of its local internet might be a issue in terms of economy. However, innovation and trend is a bigger issue because to be a strong country it cannot be complacent.

  3. From what I have heard in class from other students, I don’t think the social media platforms in China would lose its competitiveness. It sounds like everyone enjoys the benefits of WeChat and find the other platforms as less appealing. On the other hand, it could be appealing because of the network effect – the majority of their friends are on WeChat, not Facebook. If Facebook were allowed in China, then more people could be using Facebook which would increase its appeal.

  4. The blocking would definitely decrease innovation in China.For example, most “innovation” in China now is copying something from other companies abroad. But on the other hand, Chinese companies can still create something really innovative. Alibaba and Tecent are both leading the innovation in mobile pay. Also, even without blocking, some international companies still didn’t succeed in Chinese market. For exmaple, Google’s market share is much lower than its competitor, Baidu. One of the reason is that these multinational IT companies are weak in localization.
    I don’t think Chinese Government would reopen the social media access in the near future. Actually, Chinese government’s policy on foreign websites is becoming tighter. More and more websites are been blocked.

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