When you run an international business, the speed and efficiency of information sharing is a critical component within that organisation. Sharing information and even large files between many countries is not a problem, but one country that does sometimes present challenges is China. Sending large files from China can be tricky for a number of reasons.
Slow Data Rates Make Transfers Painful
Remember those days when you “dialled up” the Internet and it would take hours to download a single song, or days to download a movie? Sometimes transferring large packets of data from China even in the Internet age can feel just like that. Senders and receivers are constantly frustrated by slow data rates — they’ve been seen as low as 2.9 mbps in the last decade — sometimes created by lack of fast Internet infrastructure in China itself, but more commonly slowed down by various security measures connected to the so-called Great Firewall of China, which is known as “Operation Golden Shield” within China.
During times of political sensitivity, your contacts in China should be able to confirm that Internet speeds and access becomes even more limited, with bandwidths slowed in order to control the flow of information in and out of the country. On top of that, heavy restrictions on sharing files to overseas IP addresses makes things even slower and harder.
Restricted Access to Possible Solutions
If you’re an Australian company dealing with the US, South Korea or EU countries, then you can find common solutions that work across the board, which you subsequently come to rely on. Things like Dropbox, for instance, as well as Google cloud services and Microsoft OneDrive, are all very useful free and easy solutions to these kinds of file sharing issues. The problem in China? None of these services are allowed!
Google was blocked in China starting in 2010, though the company maintains a limited presence there to provide certain permitted services like a Chinese version of Google Maps. Dropbox was banned from 2010 to 2014 before briefly reappearing and then disappearing again from June 2014 to the present day. The same story is true for many common sites, apps and services that companies in Australia and many other countries just take for granted.
The result is a limited pool of solutions. Baidu Wangpan has been held up by China as a viable alternative, but the main snag is that it’s all in Chinese. What’s more, it’s still subject to the same questions of security and restriction as you’d expect, and some companies are not comfortable with using Chinese software on their computers in Australia, even if they get around the language barrier.
China Digital Dilemma
It’s easy to see the dilemma that companies are facing. China is now the major economic and business player in Asia, and indeed in the whole world. Dealing with China is essential for the development strategies of many companies. They therefore have to find workable solutions. It’s easy to dismiss these “silly” restrictions as foolish and just want to forget the whole thing, but that’s not an option for many enterprises who have already invested money, time, energy and personnel in the China market.
The solutions aren’t easy, but they do exist. The main challenge is finding a reliable, stable platform that is unlikely to become another victim of Golden Shield, or is unable to be targeted by that system. Keeping people on one platform for a long time is the best solution as it means less need for training up personnel to use a whole other platform if and when it gets “harmonized” by the Great Firewall.