This morning I was informed that YouTube has been blocked in China. I had not noticed it yet, because I access the internet through a proxy most of the time. But when I went onto a Chinese connection YouTube indeed did not load (message: “The server stopped responding”).
The reason? Probably not directly the ongoing 17th National Congress in Beijing, then they would have blocked the site last week already (unless someone right now uploaded some video’s that would upset the government). I suspect the real reason might be that YouTube just launched a Chinese version, which would make the site much more accessible for Chinese users. Not a very smart idea to do that in the middle of the National Congress, and I am surprised nobody at mother company Google’s China offices rang an alarm bell about this before the launch. A typical example of the mistakes foreign companies make while trying to do business in China.
I hope for YouTube it is just a problem with their content delivery system or something similar, and not a real block. I don’t like sites to be blocked, even not those of our competitors. But it will be an interesting discussion point for our Tudou board meeting tomorrow, that’s for sure.