China Takes Over The United States

I started blogging in 1998. Yes, it was a little different than it is today. We had to do all the backend coding ourselves as there were no blogging platforms.

However, up until today one thing had remained constant. Far and above any other country, the United States had dominated the traffic to my blog posts. In fact, compared to any other country it had been at least a 10x difference.

Today this has changed. Over the last 6 months I’ve noticed more and more traffic coming in from China. And now, today, for the first time in 14 years of putting my thoughts out there, China traffic has pipped the United States.

This reflects the growing reality that China, and the Asia Pacific region in general, is entering a phase of web domination. It will be most interesting to see how this changes the way we interact with the web – will factors like trust, privacy and openness shift on the web, how will such shifts affect offline behavior patterns?

In any event I welcome my friends from China and look forward to interacting more with this region!

Photo credit: Shreyans Banshali

A Call For Worldwide Solidarity: Global Mourning Period In Support Of China’s Earthquake Victims

The Chinese government has called for a 3-day mourning period to honor the passing of thousands of civilians killed in the recent Sichuan Wenchang earthquake.

As part of this call, they have issued an edict that entertainment-based websites and programming shut down over this period.

A bitchmeme sprung up around this on Friendfeed with some high profile bloggers jumping into the fray and causing tempers to rise amongst Chinese bloggers.

I can understand the tug between total freedom (as perceived¬† by many of us westerners) and the authoritarian approach of the Chinese government. However, looked at in context this is a significant inflection point. Paul Denlinger explains that in terms of China’s track record of not openly recognizing calamities, calling for this 3-day mourning period is a significant step forward.

Looked at in the broader 2008 context of the upcoming Olympic Games and the growing level of angst and misunderstanding between the peoples of China and the West, I believe we should come together and embrace this mourning period globally.¬† In the spirt of unity that the Olympics signify let us unite around Paul’s simple rule:

If you reach out and treat people like friends, they tend to act like friends…

Remember, earthquakes are a global phenomenon and can happed anywhere, anytime — how would you like to have the world react to such a disaster happening near you. As I was writing this a small earthquake was recorded in Central California measuring 2.6.

[Picture courtesy of yelingyang]

China’s Leading Blogger Shares Nation’s Thoughts On Olympics

Hong Huang spent her youth in the US before returning to China to become the country’s top blogger. She is intimately tapped into the country’s zeitgeist both through her role in the media and her family’s place in defining its culture – her mother was Mao Zedong’s English teacher.

In this fascinating interview she talks about her country’s nationalism and pride and how the people see the Olympics as a window into their world.

[Hat tip to @kaiserkuo]

Putting A Universal Translator In Your Pocket

Hands up: ever been to a foreign country and been totally inept at communicating with your taxi driver.

I, for one, have had that fun experience – picture the scene: Tsukuba, Japan – a wintry morning trying to get to a conference I’m hosting. My taxi driver got out of bed on the wrong side that morning (probably had been doing so for many years), and we were just not able to decipher one another’s intentions. Sound familiar?

It would have been great in that situation to call someone who could both translate and interpret the social nuances.

This is where chinaONEcall steps in. Set up in time for the Beijing Olympics, they provide an over-the-phone interpretation service. I haven’t tried it yet, but they say they differentiate from normal translation services in that they interpret the context of your call from both a social and business etiquette point of view.

Given that 2.7 million US citizens visited China last year this may well be a busy number to call.

[Picture courtesy of Stuck in Customs]