Keeping Good Company in China...

I started out designing and developing flash websites in London, worked my way up through a media agency until escaping in 2003. Freelancing paid for my travels until curiosity eventually lead me to China. In 2006 I co-founded Thread Design, now one of the best known independent foreign agencies in Shanghai. I get asked a lot what’s it’s like to create and run a design firm in China, the answer changes every week.

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No China Drum

Today I opened up my browser to find I can’t view The Drum from China! However (as everyone here does) I can run proxy software to get around this inconvenience, while simultaneously reducing browsing speed to a 1998 dial-up pace. Hurrah.

I’m pretty uneasy writing a blog entry about censorship, but running what is primarily a web design company in a country where the internet can be turned on an off on a whim is somewhat frustrating. Restrictions to the internet are not just from the officials, the network infrastructure is also state run and lacks the urgency of any business competition.

Reasons for not being able to access my clients websites in the past have included;

  • You haven’t registered the content of your website with the authorities
  • You have registered it, but forgot to show your licence number at the bottom of the page
  • There is a Chinese company that is not as good as you
  • Somebody else on your shared hosting account likes blogging about democracy
  • There is no internet this week
  • It’s outside of China, worse still it’s in Taiwan
  • It’s facebook, twitter, youtube, vimeo, blogspot, goggle docs, etc.
  • There is an important ceremony in Beijing
  • It’s raining

I’m have no doubt The Drum will be back on full view shortly, it’s probably just because I’m in the Kitchen this evening.

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