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Western entrepreneurs complained that China's Internet restrictions are causing negative effects on their business. Meanwhile, Beijing's security measures facilitate the development of China's homegrown Internet companies.
Ekaterina Blinova — Western businesses expressed deep concerns regarding measures restricting Internet access in China, according to the European Chamber of Commerce survey.
According to the study, 86 percent of foreign entrepreneurs complained that the restrictions deliver a heavy blow to their business activities in the region, since certain websites and online tools are inaccessible in China. Around 80 percent emphasized that their businesses were seriously affected by the recent tightening of Internet controls, since the beginning of 2015. At the same time, 13 percent of respondents said that they had recently postponed R&D investment operation in China, citing obstacles posed by Beijing's Internet policies.
The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, comprising of about 1,800 member companies, insisted that China's strict Internet policies should be eased in order to bolster the development of the country.
"It's obvious that information-based, global-facing businesses will fuel China's growth in the years ahead, and it is in China's own interests to ensure that Internet supervision does not hamper legitimate, value-added commercial activity," European Chamber President Jörg Wuttke said in an official statement.
"This is compounded by the fact that these measures are also discouraging much-needed foreign talent from relocating here," he added.
Indeed, with a population over 1.4 billion people and 632 million active Internet users, China is viewed by Western companies as an exceptionally attractive market. However, the "Great Firewall," China's system of online censorship, blocks some of foreign Internet services and media sources, including Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram.
Commenting on the issue, China's authorities refer to security issues, and increased threats of extremist content spreading via the Internet and social media networks. It is worth mentioning that earlier this month the Cyberspace Administration of China announced that chat rooms and forum users would be required to register their real names with platforms' administrators. On the other hand, experts point out that the policies, conducted by Beijing, at the same time facilitate the development of China's domestic Internet companies.
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