In my last article, I discussed about Xiaomi, The Chinese Smartphone company which is well, hitting Apple Inc. at its core business, The Smartphones. But, is it the only one? No. Chinese Government has banned almost all popular websites, operating from USA. The recent highlight being the ban on entire Google networks, during the transition of power a the Presidential level.
In this article, we see some Chinese Alternates to most popular American internet giants.
Most popular sites like Facebook, twitter, youtube, blogspot, google plus etc are all banned in china. Accessing them via VPN is also considered a crime. Any site which can possibly leak Chinese
atrocitiesactivities in Tibet are usually banned.
But, Chinese people aren’t subdued by these legislation’s and have created their own alternate services which are quite robust, and are challenging the American behemoths. We have listed some of these most popular services here :
Baidu | Chinese Google
Ranked 5th overall in the Alexa Rankings, its the search alternative for chinese people, and is the largest internet-search companies in China. It provides a suite of services, which are almost completely similar to Google, like image search,video search, patent search, news, social network, IPTV etc. The content you search on Baidu is usually Govt. friendly, and always comes heavily censored. Baidu had also released a low-cost smartphone of its own, imitating the Nexus mobile strategy of Google. Whats staggering here is the amazing number of people using it, The website and search is 100% Chinese, and it gets its traffic only from China, yet it managed over 4 billion queries in Q4 in 2010. It is also listed in NASDAQ -100 Index (BIDU). It thrives on pay-per-click advertising model, again similar to Google, and has its own advertising platform in P4P model. (Pay-for-Placement). It had recently released its own Baidu Browser, China-compliant and offers 100% censored browsing. It’s a neat copy of Chrome browser and its logo is a rip-off of the Internet Explorer logo.
Renren | Chinese Facebook
Renren is the most popular Chinese Social Network, with more than 160 million registered users. In April 2011, they had it corrected to 31 million active monthly users. Its a complete copy of Facebook in both style and layout, only under 100% scrutiny of Chinese Government. It allows people to sign up, share photo’s, put up status updates and “like” or comment on the same.
Well, your “likes” may not be sometimes liked by the government and it will be removed instantly. A 700-strong team is always on the hunt for any matter being published which could harm its iron-grip rule.
Renren caters greatly to academic population and has a network of 32,000 universities under its wings. No doubt, it’s heavily censored but still, its a social website and it all explains its rising popularity.
Sina Weibo | Chinese Twitter
Weibo literally means Microblog and Sina Weibo is the twitter-clone operated by Sina Corporation, a Media house in China. Its a 100% Chinese Micro-blogging platform. It has over 365 million registered accounts, which is almost the entire Chinese internet population, which makes it automatically, the most popular Chinese Social Website.
Sina Weibo is a exact twitter clone with 140 character based tweets, has support for @username, #hashtags, and also has the RT retweet features. Though its a highly popular website, it did not carry a single mention about the victory of Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel peace prize victory in 2010, nor it had a hint of the revolts going on in Arab world or Wukan. Tibet’s plight isn’t given a slightest chance to appear on the website, and that explains the efficiency of the invisible firewall installed in China.
Sina Weibo isn’t the only microblogging site, but it faces a stiff competition from Tencent Weibo, a website operated from Hong Kong. whatever may be the growth, it’s all a fight for the domestic pie only, with international expansion always out of question.
Youku | Chinese Youtube
Its easily guessable. The Youtube clone in China. All video’s are 100% censored to be govt. friendly. Its the World’s second biggest video-sharing portal after Youtube.
Users can upload content irrespective of its length, and allows people to watch and share video’s easily. Mostly Chinese entertainment industry makes the best use of this service, because politics and news videos generally have nothing to offer.
One interesting feature of Youku is that majority of Western TV shows and movies are available to watch for free on Youku and since its based in China, Hollywood can never file lawsuits against them, since copyright laws are almost non-existent in China, which drives its heavy craze. Many American TV shows are available usually with chinese subtitles.
Lack of Copyright laws allows Chinese websites to heavily indulge in piracy and it all goes unchecked from international attention due to fear of rebuke from Chinese government.