WSJ – Behind the Great Firewall, the Chinese Internet Is Booming

China is now the world’s largest e-commerce market as its huge middle class quickly adopts pervasive mobile internet use. Domestic alternatives to popular blocked western websites also offer plenty to keep most locals from testing the Great Firewall for cracks.

June 8, 2017

‘When I asked a Beijing-based venture capitalist who travels to the U.S. frequently what foreigners need to know to understand the Chinese internet, he sent me a stream of comments he hears all the time:

“I thought without freedom of expression you can’t innovate. I thought with censorship you’d always be confused what product you can do. I thought American companies would be successful if it weren’t for Chinese protectionism,” ran his list. “I thought Chinese people would really want to see American websites if they could.”

While censorship, protectionism and copying are often the first things that many foreigners associate with Chinese tech—and they’re undoubtedly important factors—thinking beyond them is vital to understanding the Chinese internet.’

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