The latest issue of New Scientist has China as it’s cover story, everything from the countries stance as the next big super power to green energy and quantum computing. In it there is a special article on the ‘Boys from the wang ba‘ focusing on internet use behind what most westerners think of as the Great Red Firewall due the fact that the Chinese government sensors information found online. Interesting things to note from the article:
- The Chinese spend a lot of their time online doing things similar to their western counterparts such as social networking, connecting with friends and family, searching for news/gossip/entertainment, and playing video games.
- Though World of Warcraft is the largest MMO on a global scale, China has a substantially lot more Fantasy Westward Journey players (a Chinese based MMO) than World of Warcraft Players.
- Due to lax copyright laws the downloading and sharing of movies and MP3s is rampant.
- By 2009 it is projected that 210 million Chinese will spend at least 1 hour online as compared to the US currently at that number.
- Internet users are 60% male (not surprising due to the population imbalance of male to female) and 70% of them are under 30 as compared to the US being 30% under 30 and 50% male.
- Chinese Internet users spend and average of 14-19 hours online compared to their US counterparts who spend 7-10.
- Baidu is the 4th largest search engine, and it is based in China.
The article ended on an interesting note pointing out that China may end up opening the net in the long run in order to compete and stand as a global economic power. This is something I would love to study there in person and will be keeping my eye on as China continues to evolve online.