Last month, Chinayouren posted a series of diagrams illustrating the relationship between China and the World Wide Web, and demonstrating both the barriers that keep China’s Internet separate from the rest of the world and how various forces are bridging the gap:
Because in Western countries internet penetration is very high and India is still lagging behind, in the next 10 years the Chinese internet will become almost as big as all the rest together. If it continues to diverge, it may grow into a parallel network, like a dark side of the moon, a vast, self-sufficient island that the government can cut out at any moment and most people inside it don’t even notice the difference. This defeats the whole idea of the www.
Whatever the real magnitude of the problem, it is clear to most observers that there is a disconnect between China and the rest of the Internet, and there are powerful forces pulling her further apart. Fortunately, there are also forces working to balance this, and the results in the coming years will very much depend on how those factors play against each other.
See more graphs here.