Internet

The Internet hasn't changed Chinese people's lives?

sisterfurong.jpg
Everyone can agree that the Internet has at least changed her life.
Reporting on CNNIC's 20th State of the Chinese Internet Development Statistical Report (Chinese-language version downloadable at the link below), China Business News ventured that, for all its netizens, the Chinese Internet has years to go before it will change the lives of Chinese people.

The article reasons that, because Chinese Internet technology is "backwards," it only really excels in providing amusement. While e-commerce industries, including retail, bill payment, job recruitment and travel, thrive in the US, e-commerce in China can't compare. Consequently, the article concludes that, when it comes to effecting fundamental changes in people's life-styles and work methods, the Chinese Internet's influence is still insufficient.

Undoubtedly, China Business News is correct in its assertion that e-commerce in China lags behind the US. As the article mentions, e-commerce in the US finds a large consumer base at least in part because Americans can use their credit cards securely online. Restricted access to credit in China seems to play a role in stunting the growth of e-commerce.

And, in fairness, while the 162 million netizens counted by CNNIC constitute the world's second largest Internet market, more than 85% of Chinese are not online.

Even so, the reach of the Internet is not limited to netizens. After Muzi Mei became an Internet celebrity in 2003, millions of Chinese — including those who'd never been on the Internet — learned about blogging (and possibly also about doggy style sex). When Furong Jiejie (pictured) set a new standard for self-confident — if deluded — female behavior, her example no doubt influenced girls who'd never been online, but who'd heard about Furong Jiejie, or who saw their friends imitating her. And you didn't have to be a netizen to benefit from the refunds Procter & Gamble paid, sans waiver, to consumers of SK-II cosmetics after public outcry on the Internet.

Other examples abound: child slaves in Shanxi have been returned to their families because 400 fathers posted an open letter on Tianya.cn; visitors to the Forbidden City won't be able to drink Starbucks coffee because Rui Chenggang criticized the store on his blog; citizens of Xiamen have won a reprieve with respect to a planned PX factory because of a protest organized and publicized using Web 2.0 applications.

That the Internet is changing Chinese people's lives is obvious. That China Business News would deny it is curious.

Links and Sources
There are currently 4 Comments for The Internet hasn't changed Chinese people's lives?.

Comments on The Internet hasn't changed Chinese people's lives?

Not curious at all, I think, and for exactly the reasons that you outlined in the first half of the post. Can I order a pizza online? Can I look up driving directions to the local movie theater, whose tickets I also ordered online? Can I apply to college online? Can I track China Post packages online? Can I upload my photos to a website and pick up developed copies from my local grocery store? Are a quality website and self-managed e-mail servers (instead of mybusiness@163.com) seen as an essential part of starting a company? The internet may have changed the way *some* Chinese people *communicate*, but it has a long way to go to penetrate the daily life of the average Chinese person. Just go to your local net cafe and glance around if you're still not convinced.

So you are saying if I implement all those things I'd be rich!

Seriously, does this mean China has lots of growth potential.

By glancing around the net cafes you mean that all people are doing is playing online games? What's wrong with that. Games are a growth industry too.

Jay, the point is not that you can't make money on the Chinese internet. The point is that the Chinese internet isn't as all-around useful as the American(?) internet; it's lopsided towards gamers, BBS posters and news/celebrity weblog readers. Even my mom uses the internet to watch Youtube videos of her grandchild, develop photos, etc, while in Chinese the most popular verb attached to the front of 电脑 (computer) is 玩 (play).

It might means some opportunity for danwei to explore and lead the trend. wait and see, three or five years from now, the scenario will change. Check how many Chinese students have gone to US or other western countries to study IT,how hard they've been working on... a clue might be appeared.

China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
laomo2010x80.jpg
From 2008
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
Danwei Archives