The New York Times started an online edition in simplified Chinese to lure luxury good advertisers. A commendable move, writes serial entrepreneur Marc van der Chijs on his weblog, but also a receipt for disaster, as an internet block seems unavoidable.
Marc van der Chijs:
The New York Times decided to host the site outside the Great Firewall, which is probably a necessity because they would have likely never received a Chinese Internet publishing license. But by doing that they run the risk that the site can by blocked at any moment. It is difficult to judge how likely that is, but for sure the government doesn’t like it when foreign media companies start targeting their population in simplified Chinese. YouTube is a good example, they were allowed in China until they launched a simplified Chinese language site.
So far the NYT was not blocked in China, although sometimes specific articles were censored. But with a Chinese site that may be different. One wrong article could lead to the whole nytimes.com domain being blocked (for some reason they did not use a separate domain name for their Chinese site, something I would have done to test the waters), meaning that also English language content won’t be available anymore.