These Surfers Do It Their Own Way – Melinda Liu and Manuela Zoninsein

Newsweek writes about social networking with Chinese characteristics:

China’s Internet audience has, for the most part, given sites like Facebook and MySpace the cold shoulder. Even local Chinese sites like Xiaonei or have failed to establish big national followings. What may seem on the surface to be a stubborn backwardness on the part of the Chinese, however, could also be interpreted as a viable alternative to Western-style social networking. Many experts are starting to think that the Chinese are leading the way to a new kind of social Internet — one that emphasizes the kind of instant communication that Herman and his friends prize so highly. Recent surveys leave little doubt that a different kind of Internet culture is emerging in China — younger, more devoted, more addicted to speed and intimacy than its Western counterparts. With tens of millions of Chinese gaining access to broadband each year, says a recent study by the Internet research firm Netpop comparing China and the United States, “Chinese have the potential to shape Web commerce and culture far beyond their own country.” [Full text]


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