An interview with a Chinese official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology pretty much confirmed what everyone knew all along: that the Internet Firewall set up by the Chinese regime provides the environment that makes possible the success of Chinese tech and Internet giants such as Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.
The Wall Street Journal, quoting the Global Times (a Chinese media with ties to the Chinese regime), said that Ministry of Industry and Information Technology official Wen Ku declared that “China’s Internet companies owe their successes to the ‘good policy environment’ created by the Chinese government.”
“Good policy environment”, of course, refers to the Great Internet Firewall that the CCP set up to block out all topics and websites that could be construed as even mildly critical of the Party. Such websites could serve as an affront to the regime that has always declared itself to be “Great, Glorious and Correct.”
The Global Times article even declared that the Firewall was, alas, “misunderstood”, and that had the firewall not been in place, “China would become the realm of Google China, Yahoo China and Facebook China.” Yes, a freedom of speech tragedy indeed, compared to the heavy-handed censorship policies that the Chinese tech giants use in order to operate in China.
The official’s comment and the Global Times article came out at a time when China has increased restrictions on its firewall, targeting VPN and encrypted traffic, resulting in further blockage of external services such as Gmail.
Chinese Internet giants such as Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu have billions of dollars in market value, and are mostly publicly listed in overseas indexes such as NASDAQ (Alibaba and Baidu) or the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (Tencent).
While some tech and industry analysts rave about these Chinese-born tech giants, with some predicting that their ilk could overtake US-based tech giants such as Facebook and Google (our prediction: don’t hold your breath on this), the Chinese official probably pretty much gave it away when he said that these companies would have not become as large as they have had it not been for the firewall that blocks much of the external traffic and Internet content, while consolidating power and prestige in a few companies that are heavily backed by the CCP.
After all, with a population of 1 billion being a captive audience to any service that works behind the Giant Firewall, was the success of the favored Chinese companies really any surprise at any time?