China's 'Wall' Hits Business

Firms Say Censorship Slows Web Connections, Curbs Access to Services

"...The American Chamber of Commerce in China said last year that nearly three-quarters of about 300 businesses it surveyed said unstable Internet access impedes their efficiency. About 40% said China's censorship efforts have a negative business impact.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the State Council Information Office, which regulate China's Internet industry, didn't respond to requests for comment.

Analysts say one of the main problems for business is that the Great Firewall, the nickname for China's Internet-censoring and filtering technology, kicks in every time a computer in China tries to access a website abroad, slowing down the connection.

The government also has failed to build infrastructure that would allow for quicker connections overseas, said David Wolf, a managing partner for the China practice of market consulting firm Allison+Partners.

"What they prefer is that Chinese users decide it is just too much trouble and by default use onshore sites, or sites that are mirrored onshore," he says.

Google, which started routing searches to Hong Kong in 2010 to avoid the mainland's restrictions, remains available in China, but its services here have become increasingly unreliable over the past year, which experts attribute to censorship efforts..."

Authors: PAUL MOZUR and CARLOS TEJADA
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