Internet curbs affecting speed

State mistrust hobbles business internet usage in China

Tue, May 7, 2013, 06:00

The economy may be slowing a bit and things are getting more expensive, but China remains a land of opportunity for business people and continues to draw investment from all over the world.

It has the world’s biggest population of internet users, with 564 million people online at the end of last year.


System of controls
But while the government likes the commercial benefits of the internet, it mistrusts its possible uses as a platform for dissenting views and has introduced a system of controls known as the Great Firewall of China, which restrict search terms and block a number of forbidden sites.

These include Twitter, Facebook, the New York Times and Bloomberg, many of which play an increasingly important commercial role.

The restrictions of internet use, can bring access speeds down to extremely sluggish rates.

The American Chamber of Commerce wants the Chinese government to speed up Internet access by permitting some companies to circumvent the extensive system of Web control.

“When we compare the internet in China to the internet as it exists in other countries such as South Korea or the European Union or the US, what we see is that it is significantly slower.

It is also less reliable and less secure,” said the chamber president, Christian Murck.


Security concerns
The chamber warned that while two-thirds of its member companies used cloud computing, the number prepared to base those operations in China had declined to below 50 per cent because of security concerns.

Member companies have “noted deterioration in access speeds” to websites outside China and warned that that would “eventually discourage investment in China”.

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