Behind the Great Firewall
by WowSuchWeb on November 2, 2016 - 8:26pm
As of today, the amount of Internet users reaches over 3 billions worldwide. There are many reasons that explain that gigantic number. Many people use the Internet to stay in contact with people they know, whereas many others use it for online shopping, entertainment or multiple other purposes. The world contains a great number of online communities. Some of these are clearly exceptional because of the way they use online services. China’s online community is part of these exceptions. Even if it is restricted to the Chinese territory only, the Chinese Internet possesses an impressive community and structure.
To start off, China has a massive Internet userbase. About a decade ago, it was the United-States that were on top of the world for that matter. In 2008, according to Wikipedia, “China became the largest population on the Internet. “ It has now been around 8 years since China passed the Americans as their Internet userbase kept growing quickly. As of this year, a bit over 720 million persons have access to online services in China, which represents around 52,2% of China’s population and 21,1% of our world’s entire userbase (InternetLiveStats). Also, it is predicted that in about five years from now, China will count around 1078 million Internet users (Statista). Overall, China has enough Internet users to make themselves look fairly dominant on that aspect.
Next up, China uses effective social networks and powerful search engines exclusive to them. Chinese use mainly Baidu as their favorite search engine as it is the most used website in the country and the fifth worldwide. Baidu gathers an amount of over 740 million web pages and 80 million images (Wikipedia). Also, another website that is used a lot in China is Sina Weibo, which is similar to Twitter but counts about twice as many users. More than 22% of China’s population is registered to Sina Weibo (Mashable). Furthermore, Chinese use Renren as their Facebook’s equivalent. Though, it has much less users than Facebook as it counts about 147 million users that are mainly collegial students (Mashable). Nonetheless, these websites are representative of China’s great Internet structure.
Additionally, the Internet in China is a restricted one. It is important to understand how the Internet is affected. In most countries, Internet must be rented from a company and there are many different companies throughout one country, but in China, bandwidth must be rented directly from the state. Also, popular social media are blocked in China, according to China Power Project, both Facebook and Twitter were removed in 2009. One striking form of censorship is how the search engines work, there are tons of websites removed from the results if the text in it contains words related to a topic the government does not want the people to know about.
To sum up, China possesses an impressive online community system due to its enormous Internet userbase, its effective search engines and social networks and also its firewall that ensures a secure Internet experience. With China’s online services and userbase expanding this way, it is possible that one day, other countries start using China’s online system if permission is given. If China’s system would be accessible in the rest of the world, navigating online would definitely be a lot more secure.