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Chinese Internet Culture

Internet culture has spread across China and became one of the most important aspects of people’s daily lives. The one issue that has become a topic for serious conversation is the country’s firewall, which does not allow many Western sites to be accessed (Tereza, 2008). The difference between China and U.S. users is mostly cultural. Even though Chinese people are becoming less dependent on public appearance, they still consider it, which separates them from more free-minded American users. In addition, there are activities, such as online gaming and purchasing that are more popular in China than in the U.S.

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Google contributes to firewall implementation by creating websites that hide inappropriate information about the Chinese government. Google aimed to create a Chinese government-friendly search engine. One such prototype was the Dragonfly project, which had to “balance [governemnt’s] economic goals and political ambitions” (Zheng & Wang, 2020, p. 24). Operation Nightingale sought to reduce the threat of information leakage online, whereas the Dragonfly project intended to collaborate with the Chinese government, offering users’ data in return (Zheng & Wang, 2020). In addition to the specified function, the role of the Dragonfly project included censorship of the available information and the prevention of access to certain data types for people using online e search (Zheng & Wang, 2020). Designed by Google, both projects represented the company’s questionable ethics concerning the privacy of its customers.

The possibility of such search engine usage in the U.S. is extremely high because every government tries to control the information citizens receive. The news, alternative point of view on political events or social issues, is a problem because it gives an opportunity for people to have a different opinion. However, the Dragonfly project appears to bear particularly adverse effects on the security of users and the overall well-being of the state, which is why the idea of the Dragonfly project being used extensively by the U.S. officials does not seem plausible. With the censorship function as the idea that contradicts the existing principles of democracy, the existence of the project will jeopardize the foundational freedoms of American society.

It is not only a firewall that provides issues for foreign companies; it is also a cultural issue. To appeal to the Chinese audience, Western brands have to take into account cultural differences. Avoiding misunderstanding, not making the product uninteresting for the users, and following government restrictions is a requirement for any company that wants to get into China’s market. For example, according to the study, Google’s share suffered because of not complying with the country’s censorship rules (Upadhyay, 2015). Thus, even a company as big as Google has failed to succeed due to the firewall.


Tereza. (2008). Untitled [Video]. Vimeo. Web.

Upadhyay, R.K. (2015). Google’s failure in online search services in China: Censorship or strategic decisions. Sai Om Journal of Commerce & Management, 2(3), 1-6.

Zheng, Y. & Wang, Q. (2020). Shadow of the great firewall: The impact of Google blockade on innovation in China. Strategic Management Journal, 2020, 1-27. Web.

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