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Getting beyond the Golden Shield

One of the hottest markets for blossoming technologies is China. Anyone that knows anything about what's going on in the world these days knows that China is very important. However when it comes to Internet companies, most of them have it all wrong. And I mean crash-and-burn wrong.

I author a secondary blog just for the fun of it on a social media site that isn't banned in China. On there I posted this simple article:

What is your favorite social network?

In the USA, the most popular social network is Facebook. Before that it was MySpace. There are also many here that use Twitter, although that is more of a micro-blog than an actual social network. For video, we use YouTube the most.

What social web sites are used in other countries the most? In China I hear that QQ is the one most used and Youku is the largest video site. Is this true?

A few quick questions answered before continuing:

The title of this article mentions Golden Shield. This is in reference to the literal Golden Shield Project, sometimes known as "The Great Firewall of China".

The #1 social network in China is QQ. You can consider it China's Facebook. It has 80 million+ users and is deeply intertwined into Chinese Internet culture.

Youku is the #1 video sharing site in China. While QQ is China's Facebook, Youku is China's YouTube.

The comments I've received on that lil' blog post above have been interesting, to say the least. Here's a few of them:

icqblog

From this I now know that both YouTube and Twitter are blocked, which means that if you use either one of those services, Chinese citizens will never see it, or at least not as long as they're blocked by Golden Shield.

As far as YouTube is concerned, I understand why they're blocked because Google completely screwed up their relationship with China. They've been handling it very badly and I seriously doubt the relationship will ever improve over there.

The day I write this there's a whole crapstorm going on as to whether Google and all its products are blocked in China. Some say yes, Google says no, blah blah blah. Whatever.

Twitter as well as Flickr, Bing and Live.com are all on the ban list under Golden Shield.

As far as I'm concerned, if you intend on having any international presence that includes China, you have to be aware of what's permitted via Golden Shield, else you miss out on a huge moneymaker.

Believe me, there's lots of cash to be made by having an online presence in China. Don't worry, I'm not telling you to pack your bags and move there. What I'm saying is that China is a market that cannot be ignored. They do matter. Big time.

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