Anyone who has travelled through china will testify to the difficulties or impossibilities of using social networking or social media. It’s not just one or two sites, but several Google properties are banned along with the ubiquitous largest Californian based social network mentioning “Face”.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that social media and social networks are banned but you would be wrong. The great firewall of China as its so known filters out western sites such as Google+ in part not because of censorship but because of competition. There are plenty of social media sites that the Chinese use on a daily basis such as RenRen and QQ that work throughout China, but all these sites are Chinese owned and run and of little or no use to Westerners used to the comfort of latin script.
Take QQ, this is a knock off imitating MSN messenger that has millions of daily users for whom the first thing they do when switching on the machine is check messages on QQ. QQ even has its own currency which can be used online and even offline with reports of some users amassing trends of thousands of pounds worth of currency. It makes it money by charging for avatars giving users the option to make themselves into whatever they desire online.
RenRen is a socialnetwork that is a ripoff of the worlds most popular and its a shameless copy at best that continues to include innovations from other social networks.
The firewall of China is however stiffling innovation and choice by leaving only Chinese companies that can be controlled by the Chinese state.