The internet is booming behind that Chinese Firewall

Perhaps it is time for the West to wake up and not be so cocky about how sophisticated and advanced it is in its deployment and use of the internet.Reflect on what is happening in China with regard to the internet from this piece in The Wall Street Journal (behind a paywall):"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.

China leads the world in many ways: It is now the world’s largest e-commerce and mobile-payment market. Of China’s roughly 700 million mobile-internet users last year, half paid with their smartphones in stores and restaurants, 28% ordered meal delivery and 44% read online fiction, according to a government report."