China restricts eBay trade

Online auction giant eBay is mourning the loss of Chinese customers as it was recently revealed that the East Asian country is now banning foreign internet users from selling goods in China.

Chief executive of eBay, John Donahoe spoke of the ordeal during the Web 2.0 Summit. “The domestic China market for internet-based service is, in essence, closed. The Chinese government is not going to allow a non-Chinese Internet company to succeed in China…it is a weapon in national security,” he said.

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Connecting China to the rest of the world was exceptionally important to eBay but it has now been waylaid by Chinese regulations. This year alone, eBay has tracked over US$6-billion in items which have been sold by Chinese users.

The stringent trade regulations of the Chinese government would have to be greatly softened in order for eBay to launch its own China-based auction house.

Chinese internet regulations are not only restricted to auction sites such as eBay. Microblogging sites such like Sina Weibo are now also under the spotlight as China calls for greater regulations for these specific websites.

Wang Chen, director of China’s state council regulation office said, “Microblogging sites should serve the works of the Communist Party and the Chinese nation. The sites can be used to popularise sciences, advance culture and project social morality.”

Microblogging sites such as Sina Weibo lead the way, dominating similar Western offerings such as Tumblr and Twitter. China’s attempt to shut down Sina Weibo was halted after the collective outcry of its millions of users.

Based on state-controlled news reports, microblogging sites are doing exceptionally well. “They have become a popular way for people to voice their opinions. Government departments and officials are encouraged to use the tool to better communicate with the public,” one report said.

Sites which are heavily censored include streaming-video giant YouTube and the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter. The Chinese government blocks any site which it deems politically sensitive, through what has come to be known as “The Great Firewall of China“.

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