Some of our guests have expressed astonishment when they discover that popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are not available in China. You can’t even ‘Google’ for an answer as the popular search engine is banned in China as well.
Why is this so and what can you do about it?
There’re 2 sides to any coin, and it is no different with this case. While many people may frown upon such restrictions, there are many who see and appreciate its value too. With this article, we like to provide another perspective (a positive one) on the bans of the digital companies in China.
Firstly, the Chinese government values stability, as do its citizens. Most Chinese citizens yearn for a comfortable and peaceful life, which is more easily endangered by a foreign social media platform. Users of local social media platforms such as Sina Weibo tend to be more reserved in their speech, ensuring that economic/political/social outcomes are less affected by feelings of social media trends and rage.
Keeping foreign competitors out also give Chinese companies a chance to grow. On an international level, this keeps monopolistic companies on their toes and provides stimulating competition.
Culturally, restricting the movement of foreign social media companies helps keep the local culture alive. With the incredible speed of information transfer, traditional values are easily changed, especially when social media is used at a young age.
Keeping social media dominantly local helps protect local values and culture. On a practical level, most Chinese do not feel ‘disadvantaged’ without the foreign social media platforms. Local companies with similar products have sprang up to fill the gap. Chinese Baidu is like Google; WeChat is similar to Facebook and Instagram, whereas Sina Weibo is similar to Twitter.
However, if you’re an avid Facebook/Instagram/Google user in China, all is not lost! You can still access these sites through VPN (Virtual Private Network). This allows you to explore the internet, as if you’re from another location. VPN apps are readily available online, on Apple Stores and Google Play stores.
If you prefer, U China Travel also provides you with a Chinese SIM card that gives you access to these digital platforms. The SIM cards work all over mainland China and Hong Kong too, so you’re connected everywhere you go!
If you’ve a question about China you’ve been wanting to learn about, or a perspective you’ve been wanting to hear, feel free to drop us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org.