China leads the world in the commerce department, having digital sales volume which far exceed that of the United States. Their retail sales volume is responsible for 40 percent of the global market share, according to eMarketer. The country also had four companies that were present in the top 10 Internet companies list when listed by their market capitalization. The four companies included Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu.
China’s famous Internet czar boasted back in January that the path they had chosen to take was full of history, and the choice for people and the country would continue to walk in path firmly a full of confidence. The czar said that two decades later after the Internet development in the country and under the Communist Party’s firm leadership, they had finally balanced the two between freedom and order and also between openness and autonomy.
China has a so-called Golden Shield, which is an Internet wall that blocks and censors everything that the country seems detrimental to the Communist Party control in the country. As a result, thousands and thousands of websites are blocked including some of the most visited websites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.
Back in April, the US government classified the Internet wall in China as an official barrier to trade between the two countries. The US government said that at least 25 of the most visited websites were now blocked in China. The American Chamber of Commerce in China noted that 4 out of every 5 of the member companies in the Chamber have had negative impacts from the Internet censorship that is in China.
Even after all this, China does not seem like it will turn back on its Internet censorship move. The country’s government is expected to give a new law that will give them more powers to help them keep their grip and strengthen it on the control of the Internet. They recently introduced new regulations which meant foreign companies could not publish their content in the country and also gave other details which meant that all websites were required to register their domain names with the government. The restriction on foreign content meant Apple was affected since its iTunes and iBooks stores contained foreign content.
China is also doing all possible to block the use of VPNs to people who are trying to bypass the Great Wall of the Internet. Most experts and analysts see the moves as a way for the government to continue with their grip on the content that goes online and what people get to see. This is in contrast to what other analysts believed as they thought it was a move by China to isolate themselves from the world and then create their intranet.
The Great Firewall came about approximately eight months after the introduction of Internet to China. The Internet came in January 1996 and eight months later in August; the government started blocking some of the foreign websites. The firewall, however, started taking a big impact in the new millennium, starting off with Google, which was blocked for nine days back in 2002. YouTube then followed in 2008 after the Tibet unrest and then Twitter and Facebook, which were blocked in 2009 after the unrests in Xinjiang.
But even after all this, there has been instances where people have used different methods to circumvent the wall. VPNs are the most common method used, and the Chinese government has always acknowledged that fact. The government has not had any problems with it because they feel that when they need to exert control, they could always do it anytime.
Apparently the Communist Party, which is the ruling party in the country, is more concerned about what its people see than what’s impacting the mobile global elite out there.