– China blogging

Trends of blogging in China.

China tightens noose with new Web rules

By Doug Young and Lindsay Beck
SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) – New Chinese regulations governing Internet news content tighten the noose on freewheeling bloggers and aim to rein in the medium that is a growing source of information for the mainland’s more than 100 million users.
Analysts say the rules issued by the Ministry of Information Industry on Sunday will not change much for authorized, licensed news outlets — already under the thumb of state control — but will extend controls to blogs and Internet-only news sites.
“For current media outlets, this is nothing more than a restating of the rules,” said David Wolf, who heads Wolf Group Asia, a Beijing-based media and technology consultancy.
“This is aimed at bloggers and other individual and ad hoc journalists that are out there and that don’t have a licensed organization.”
The regulations target sites that publish fabricated information or pornography and forbid content that “harms national security, reveals state secrets, subverts political power (and) undermines national unity”.
They also ban posts that “instigate illegal gatherings, formation of associations, marches, demonstrations, or disturb social order”, indicating a lesson learned from anti-Japanese protests that swept China last April and which spread in part due to postings on Internet bulletin boards and chat rooms.
China routinely blocks access to Internet sites on sensitive subjects such as self-ruled Taiwan, which China regards as its own, and the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrations which were crushed by the military with heavy loss of life.
Providers of online news and other services, from domestic players Sina Corp. and to foreign firms such as Yahoo Inc., also practice forms of self-censorship by blocking sites and prohibiting message posting on sensitive topics.
But the new regulations would curtail discussion on a wider variety of subjects, analysts said.
“Much more relevant is current affairs, social and political news. You don’t necessarily have to touch taboo areas,” said Xiao Qiang, director of the China Internet Project at the University of California at Berkeley. CLICK HERE FOR MORE

September 26, 2005 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Bloggin in China – Companies to make money

I just saw this article on ZDNET.

Blogging is blooming in China as the country’s vast pool of Web users clamor to make their mark online and as ambitious local start-ups battle foreign heavyweights for a piece of the market.

China now boasts a 14.2 million blogs with a new one created every second, according to Web site Technorati.

The growing stable of e-scribes, still small by global standards, has attracted homegrown companies and foreign giants like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo offering blogging Web pages to outspoken Chinese Internet users.

The medium has already produced at least one celebrity of sorts, a woman who goes by the blog name Furong Jiejie, whose steamy online entries include passages like: “I have a physique that gives men nosebleeds.”

“Users don’t care too much if the blog company is foreign or local, but I think local companies have more understanding of the community,” said Kevin Wen, a spokesman for Beijing-based start-up, whose name is Chinese for blog.

Bokee, formerly called BlogChina, has attracted $616,523 (5 million yuan) in seed funding as well as $10 million in venture capital funding from six U.S. and Chinese companies.

It hopes to become the first Chinese blogging company to list on the Nasdaq, CEO Fang Xingdong said. The company expects its revenue to grow to five times its August level by the end of this year and predicts that its user base will reach the 10 million mark, he added.

Hot IPOs
Rivals and have also said that they were in financing discussions with venture capital firms.

Initial public offerings of Chinese technology companies have proven popular so far, with Web search company being the latest to strike gold with its shares more than quadrupling in value in their U.S. market debut last week.

China is the world’s second-largest Internet market after the United States with 120 million users forecast by year’s end. But the number of bloggers is still relatively small at about 6 million, according to various sources.

Microsoft says more than 1 million users in China have joined its MSN Spaces service so far, which is operated out of China and was launched in the country just three months ago.

That number is growing an average rate of 30 percent a month, said Sally Ip, MSN Asia’s regional trade marketing manager.

Bokee, which was set up in 2002, claims the biggest share of China’s blogging market with about 2 million registered users, and said it is adding 6,000 to 10,000 daily.

Since blogging services are usually free, companies make most of their revenue from advertising. Bokee’s Wen said he might begin to charge for blogging services at the end of this year, but still saw most of the company’s revenue coming from advertising and wireless charges.

Bokee’s site carries ads from the likes of Dell, Nokia, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, although the company declined to say how much revenue it generates.

Risky business
But speaking one’s mind can be risky business in a country where the media is tightly controlled and chat forums and online bulletin boards are routinely monitored for controversial political comments.

China has been cracking down on Internet content–from politics to pornography–but has struggled to gain control over the medium as more Chinese get Web access and have used it to gain information beyond official sources.

By comparison, bloggers in the United States have come to hold considerable sway over public discourse, debunking news reports and influencing decision makers.

Whether blogging will give rise to a comparable class of self-made, pajamas-and-slippers political pundits in China may hang on the trade-offs foreign, as well as domestic, companies make in order to operate in the country.

Microsoft’s blog venture in China recently came under fire for censoring words such as “freedom,” “democracy,” “human rights” and “Taiwan independence” from the subject lines of its free online journals.

Microsoft rivals such as Yahoo and Google and homegrown players Sina and have also been known to censor content in the country.

“It’s hard for us to avoid the censorship, but we have to protect the business,” said Bokee’s Wen. “When you do business in China, you have to follow the rules.”

CLICK HERE to read the original article.

August 10, 2005 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment