Google has created a new page for its Chinese users and stopped automatically redirecting them to its Hong Kong site.
Google no longer redirecting google.cn to google.hk
As you know, in March 2010, Google decided to stop filtering its search results in China, the Chinese version of Google redirecting all queries to its Hong Kong version.
Google ended the automatic redirection to its Hong Kong site. Now, when you go to google.cn, you have to click anywhere on the page and it will take you to Google Hong Kong.
From an user point of view, it doesn't change many things but Google announced it would add new services to its Chinese page.
Google's license in China at stake
Google's move comes actually at the time when Google has to renew its license. Google's ICP (Internet Content Provider) license (required to operate a business website in China) expires today. The license extends through 2012 but has to be renewed each year.
So, this decision may be seen as a concession to the Chinese government which objected to Google's strategy of redirecting Chinese users to an unfiltered site in Hong Kong.
However, it remains unclear whether the Chinese government will accept Google's decision.
Google China to fight back against Baidu
Since its pull-out from China, Google lost share in the Chinese search market. Indeed, Google's market share declined to 31% in the first quarter from 35.6% in end of 2009. Its larger Chinese rival Baidu took full advantage of its decision.
Will Google's new strategy be more successful than the first one ?
World’s largest social network service Facebook hopes to grow in Asia, and notably in China, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the Cannes Lions advertising festival.
World's largest SNS
Founded in 2004, Facebook now has almost 500 million members.
The company is looking for other ways to maintain its growth driven now by non-English languages, in particular French, Spanish, Turkish and Indonesian. The objective is to reach 1 billion users.
Facebook to go local
Mark Zuckerberg also announced that Facebook would soon begin to make its first strategic local moves and do specific things in specific countries. He did not specify whether that would involve local customisation of Facebook in those countries, or some sort of corporate activity.
He also pointed out that mobile internet would be a driver of growth in social media.
Facebook wants to take the lead in the Asian SNS market
Among the countries for the next phase of expansion, Mark Zuckerber quoted China, Russia, South-Korea and Japan where Facebook isn't the leading social network.
Facebook faces fierce competition with Chinese social networks such as Tencent QQ, Renren Network (former Xiaonei) and Kaixin001 (see our article about SNSs in China). But as you know, Facebook is still blocked in China, so I don't really understand how Facebook intends to gain users unless it buys one of these companies.
Other local Asian SNS leaders include Cyworld in South Korea, Mixi in Japan and Vkontakte in Russia.
In a a white paper entitled 'The Internet in China' and released yesterday, China's government defends Internet censorship and states it will continue to block access to sensitive information on the Internet.
Internet censorship, 'necessary to protect citizens'
China has been blocking many websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, considered as providers of inappropriate content.
The document confirms that censorship of this kind of websites will continue although 'the Chinese government encourages and supports the development of the network news media, providing a wealth of news and information, and shall protect the citizen's freedom of speech on the internet, to protect the public's right to know, participate, express and to supervise'.
'Laws and regulations clearly prohibit the spread of information that contains content subverting state power, undermining national unity [or] infringing upon national honor and interests,' read the white paper.
The Information Office of the State Council which published the document explains that it is the work of government and service providers to protect citizens from this material in order to 'prevent all kinds of illegal dissemination of information'.
Despite the 'Great Firewall', Chinese web users 'fully enjoy freedom of speech on the internet', according to China's government.
Internet in China has to respect Chinese laws...
China's government wants to make clear that Internet has to comply with Chinese online regulations: 'Within Chinese territory the internet is under the jurisdiction of Chinese sovereignty. The internet sovereignty of China should be respected and protected,' read a paragraph in the document.
Internet control is considered as necessary for state protection. Moreover, China warns other governments to respect its authority in this area.
'Laws and regulations [are necessary] to safeguard information security, internet, basic legal basis for all citizens. In the People's Republic of China, foreign citizens, legal persons and other organisations must comply,' concluded the white paper.
In addition, the document notes 'Chinese law prohibits any form of network hacking,' an allusion to the Google hacks for which the government has denied any responsibility. Google accused Chinese hackers of playing around with its encodings and the Gmail accounts of human rights activists.
After the US company failed to negotiate with Chinese government, Google turned off its main Chinese search engine in March 2010 and decided to redirect the traffic to its Hong Kong server.
China facebook. Today, Facebook and twitter, probably because of what's going on on the west side of the country, are blocked in china. I am not going to discuss the politics behind this. This is a blog about search engine optimization, and internet marketing, so i am going to stick to that... but don't think i am heartless or I don't care about what is going on.
1) Now imagine you are in shanghai, or beijing, and you run your company on facebook (with a facebook app), well, as long as facebook is blocked, then you have 0 turn over...
2) they want to stop spreading the information... but i am wondering if by blocking facebook, they don't actually boost the spread of information, because the whole world is going to speak about facebook being blocked!
3) Often, people think that china is blocking facebook to stop information broadcasting abroad. actually I think that the main reason is for chinese in china. this is the most important part they need to control... so why don't they stop xiaonei, a facebook copy in china!?
Well, let's hope facebook is going to be accessible again in china in few hours, because it's also a tool for my business...
Edit: we are on the 24 of july, and facebook is till blocked in china. It's probably going to be blocked until october 1st 2009, for the 60th anniversary of the creation of the "People's Republic of China".
Google is blocked in China, but you still can use the chinese google (google.cn). Well, here at THEM beijing, a big part of our documents, emails, contacts, are ... on google, so you can imagine that this is no good news for our business.
Besides, we serve mainly foreigner clients who work in china, and they find our search engine optimization company through... google search engine of course! So, something tells me I will have no contact or requests coming from our website today!
That's so chinese... the government decides something, you don't know why, you don't know for how long, you just have to adapt, and that's what we're going to do (actually, we may know why, because the government is pissed that we can find porn through google, but we can find it through baidu too!). They also blocked twitter few days ago but now it's working again.
For those of you who are in Beijing or China and who cannot access their emails, actually, you still can have them through google pop or imap, and download them to your email client like outlook or thunderbird.
# Google GMail POP Settings
The GMail service offers email client access for retrieving and sending emails through your Gmail account. GMail uses POP3 over an SSL connection :
- Google Gmail Incoming Mail Server (POP3) - pop.gmail.com (SSL enabled, port 995)
- Outgoing Mail Server - use the SMTP mail server address provided by your local ISP or smtp.gmail.com (SSL enabled, port 465)
Sometimes it's desperating, but we also love China for that, new challenges everyday!
Edit : it seems that google is going up again little by little, few friends in other places in china telling me they can access it again now, but i am in beijing and i still can't.
and this article reminds us that It's not the first time google is blocked