Internet in China
|This article is outdated. (March 2015)|
|Visualization of Internet routing paths|
|China||Share of searches (%)|
Baidu is the leading search engine in China, while most web portals also provide search opportunities like Soso.com. Google China has also entered the Chinese market, however it now places a link to Google Hong Kong on its google.cn page because of an issue with hackers reportedly based in Mainland China.
Although the Chinese write fewer emails, they enjoy other online communication tools. Users form their communities based on different interests. Bulletin boards on portals or elsewhere, chat rooms, instant messaging groups, blogs and microblogs are very active, while photo-sharing and social networking sites are growing rapidly. Some Wikis such as the Soso Baike and Baidu Baike are "flourishing". Until 2008 the Chinese Wikipedia could not be accessed from mainland China. Since 2008, the government only blocks certain pages on Wikipedia which they deem to contain controversial content.
The rapidly increasing number of Internet users in China has also generated a large online shopping base in the country. A large number of netizens have even been branded as having an "online shopping addiction" as a result of the growth of the industry. According to Sina.com, Chinese consumers with Internet access spend an average of RMB10,000 online annually.
Online Mapping Services
China has endeavored to offer a number of online mapping services and allows the dissemination of geographic information within the country. Soso maps, Baidu maps (百度地圖) and Tianditu (天地圖) are typical examples. Online mapping services can be understood as online cartography backed up by a geographic information system (GIS). GIS was originally a tool for cartographers, geographers and other types of specialists to store, manage, present and analyze spatial data. In bringing GIS online, the Web has made these tools available to a much wider audience. Furthermore, with the advent of broadband, utilizing GIS has become much faster and easier. Increasingly, non-specialist members of the public can access, look up and make use of geographic information for their own purposes. Tianditu is China's first online mapping service. Literally World Map, Tianditu was launched in late October 2010. The Chinese government has repeatedly claimed that this service is to offer comprehensive geographical data for Chinese users to learn more about the world.
Driven by prevalent Internet usage and the increase in the online retail sector, online payment services have also grown rapidly in China. As of January 2015, Alipay has 600 million counts of users and has the largest user group among all online-payment providers. 
As of 2009, China is the largest market for online games. The country has 368 million Internet users playing online games and the industry was worth US$13.5 billion in 2013. 73% of gamers are male, 27% are female.
Although restrictions on political information remain strong, several sexually oriented blogs began appearing in early 2004. Women using the web aliases Muzi Mei (木子美) and Zhuying Qingtong (竹影青瞳) wrote online diaries of their sex lives and became minor celebrities. This was widely reported and criticized in mainland Chinese news media, and several of these bloggers' sites have since been blocked, and remain so to this day. This coincided with an artistic nude photography fad (including a self-published book by dancer Tang Jiali) and the appearance of pictures of minimally clad women or even topless photos in a few Chinese newspapers, magazines and on several websites. Many dating and "adult chat" sites, both Chinese and foreign, have been blocked. Some, however, continue to be accessible, although this appears to be due more to the Chinese government's ignorance of their existence than any particular policy of leniency.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2011)|
The Golden Shield Project was proposed to the State Council by Premier Zhu Rongji in 1993. As a massive surveillance and content control system, it was launched in November 2000, and became known as the Great Firewall of China. However, the blocking of websites can be circumvented and is generally ineffective at preventing the flow of information to determined individuals. The effectiveness of the project is the limitation of access it creates for the majority of users who are not technologically savvy or intent on seeking information. Some argue that it is more effective at providing a Chilling effect rather than actually blocking content.
The Chinese Internet has provided some interesting tactics for the dissemination of news. In contrast to some early fears that the fluidity of web content would make it easy to rewrite history and strengthen the hand of the government, the opposite appears to be happening. One common tactic in publishing sensitive topics is to post the article on a newspaper website, and then comply with government orders to take it down. By the time the article is removed, a large number of people will already have read it, thus negating the point of the censorship order.
However, in fear of closure, online service providers sometimes hire moderators known as big mama to monitor user-provided content. Nevertheless, some officially supported websites such as the Strong Country Forum hosted by the People's Daily are less restricted than others in discussing sensitive topics.
Forbes magazine featured an article entitled “Cracks In the Wall (27 February 2006):
Amnesty International notes that China “has the largest recorded number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents in the world.” The "offences" these prisoners are accused of include "communicating with groups abroad", "opposing the persecution of the Falun Gong", "signing online petitions" and "calling for reform and an end to corruption".
One of the most important censors in China is The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China (SAPPRFT) responsible for controlling both online and offline materials suspicious to be dangerous to social security and public order.
The Baidu 10 Mythical Creatures, initially a humorous hoax, became a popular and widespread internet meme in China. These ten hoaxes reportedly originated in response to increasing online censorship and have become an icon of netizens' resistance to it.
The State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television issued a directive on 30 March 2009 to highlight 31 categories of content prohibited online, including violence, pornography and content which may "incite ethnic discrimination or undermine social stability". Many netizens believe the instruction follows the official embarrassment over the "Grass Mud Horse" and the "River Crab". Industry observers believe that the move was designed to stop the spread of parodies or other comments on politically sensitive issues in the runup to the anniversary of the 4 June Tiananmen Square protests.
In the second quarter of 2014, China is by far the main country of origin of cyber attacks, with 43% of the worldwide total.
Internet advertising market
The size of China's online advertising market was RMB 3.3 billion in the third quarter 2008, up 19.1% compared with the previous quarter. Soso.com, Baidu.com Inc, Sina Corp and Google Inc. remain the Top 4 in terms of market share. Keyword advertising market size reached RMB 1.46 billion, accounting for 43.8% of the total Internet advertising market with a quarter-on-quarter growth rate of 19.3%, while that of the online advertising site amounted to RMB 1.70 billion, accounting for 50.7% of the total, up 18.9% compared with the second quarter.
Currently, Baidu has launched the CPA platform, and Sina Corp has launched an advertising scheme for intelligent investment. The moves indicate a market trend of effective advertising with low cost. Online advertisements of automobiles, real estate and finance will keep growing rapidly in the future.
- Soso Baike,
- Hudong, 5.4 million articles
- Baidu Baike, 3.5 million articles
- Chinese Wikipedia, 594,376 articles
as of October 2012
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- China Internet Project
- Human flesh search engine (HFSE)
- List of Internet phenomena in China
- Media in China
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- http://www.internetfreedom.org/Background Global Internet Freedom Consortium (do not download anything from this site – it is a known Trojan supplier)
- 【贴图】百度十大神兽_水能载舟亦能煮粥. Hi.baidu.com. Retrieved on 16 April 2012.
- Hoax dictionary entries about legendary obscene beasts. Danwei.org. Retrieved on 16 April 2012.
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- Chinese Internet Network Information Center In Chinese and in English.
- http://www.nanjingmarketinggroup.com/blog/15-years-chinese-internet-usage-13-pretty-graphs CNNIC data, reorganized and in English.
- Blogging in China (Channel 4 News)
- PBS article
- China celebrates 10 years of being connected to the Internet
- Structural maps of major networks in China
- China Malware War Gets Personal
- Website executives discuss China's Internet growth (China Daily)
- The Curious Case of Jia Junpeng
- Yansong Blog on Internet of China