Losing Chinese Business Because of 2 Simple Mistakes

This is not an article about the market condition in China but more of a practical reality that I think most people and businesses have not considered. If you read the news you’ll feel the first impediment to business in China is going to be regulations or that your website may be blocked by the GFW (Great Firewall of China). However in practical terms this is something you’ll almost never encounter. There are however 2 simple but huge, crucial and critical mistakes that most businesses make when trying to attract prospective Chinese customers for overseas or cross-border e-Commerce.

#1 Common Mistake That Guarantees No Customers From China Will Ever Reach Your Site
Everyone knows Google has extensive reach in various online services and platforms including search but their reach goes farther in a very harmful way for anyone trying to get Chinese visitors to their website. This issue applies to almost any user in China whether they are a local or foreigner and whether you are hosting in China, Hong Kong or anywhere outside. This problem can only be resolved by an experienced web developer or team and is a mistake MOST developers unknowingly make.

This little mistake comes from the fonts specified in CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) that are used to style and/or layout all websites on the internet. CSS itself is not the problem, but what is the problem is that a lot of designers use “Google Font APIs” from googleapis.com. This is a bad idea in my opinion aside from the main reason which is that you rely on a third outside party to make sure your website loads. If the remotely hosted fonts cannot be loaded due to a change in location or the server goes down, your website will not load. In the case of China on virtually all consumer grade connections “googleapis.com” is blocked, this means the third party font server is as good as down and your website WILL not load in China because of it.

Essentially what this means is that any website using Google Font APIs will not work in China no matter where it is hosted. The solution is to edit your CSS code and use alternative fonts, or to manually download the .ttf and edit your .css files.

#2 Hosting your site outside of Mainland China or Hong Kong is too slow
For those who have ever visited China, loading sites abroad such as in the US or even worse in Europe is a very difficult hit and miss experience. While most sites are actually not blocked by the GFW, a good portion of sites and services are unusable due to poor connectivity between China and a lot of ISPs. This can be solved somewhat with premium bandwidth that we use in China but really the best solution is to host your site in Mainland China or Hong Kong.

For those familiar with China, you will know that you need an ICP license from the Ministry of IT. This is not a problem if you have a presence in China or a friend who can help. But really the only legal way is to get a proper ICP license which means based on your business and not a personal ICP (we have seen these revoked for misuse). To make it short, if you don’t have an ICP in China your site will not work and will be blocked. So hosting your website in China is only an option if you have an ICP license.

The next best thing is Premium bandwidth from Hong Kong with direct China connectivity which is almost as good as being in Mainland China. But note the “Premium Bandwidth” and “Direct China Connectivity” because only some providers have this. Bandwidth is very expensive in Hong Kong and the only way providers can save money is by buying non-premium bandwidth that routes all China traffic through the USA. For cost it makes sense for those providers, but for you the end user and business who wants to have Chinese customers it doesn’t make sense unless you have direct China peering/connectivity. If you have a good connection to China from Hong Kong then users can essentially expect your site to perform as if it’s in Mainland China, in fact most users will probably feel it is located in China because of the low latency and fast response. In Hong Kong there is no requirement for an ICP license so this is really the best method for those who can’t the ICP license in China.

Don’t Lose Out
For companies who have targeted the Chinese market and have attempted to drive traffic to their own website or third party portal if you haven’t received the response you’ve expected the above could very well be why you have no Chinese customers. In another blog post I will show a few technical examples of how to fix it and still use Google Font APIs although the easiest, quickest fix is to stop using them.

Google Pixel 2 for Business Use?

Source http://areebyasir.com/?p=218

I have to start off by saying I am surprised at the specs or lack of them right out of the box I wouldn’t buy because there is no value there and no compelling features over the average phone. The entry level 5″ model comes in at $899 and the XL 6″ at $1159 USD. What is especially disappointing is the lackluster 4GB of RAM in both models this is quite shocking for a flagship phone I would say it is a low-end phone in terms of RAM which is a big deal to me and I think most people. If you don’t have enough RAM your apps will slow down and start swapping. There is also nothing that I see is groundbreaking in this phone compared to the iPhone-X.

If this phone came in at a budget price I’d say it would be a good value but like many, I am comparing it against flagship Chinese phones such as my OnePlus 5 that I recently bought. In comparison my One Plus 5 came in at $540 USD has 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and dual-SIM slot (very hand when traveling abroad/on business).

I think Google is going to be creating more work for itself and it needs to decide if it’s competing against the OnePlus or Apple because both are very different types of market segments and this phone fits into the middle of the pack in terms of specs but at a premium price. It just doesn’t make sense because these phones don’t carry any prestige that say a Samsung or Apple would.

I’m sorry for not going into more depth but for the way I purchase I had to stop at the 4GB of RAM I cannot believe any 2017 flagship phone would have such little memory.
The Pixel 2 looks like a good phone but it is overpiced and underspec’d and usually I say specs are not an issue but at that price point it certainly is and I’d say the iPhone-X is the better value. Think of it this way though you could almost buy 2 OnePlus 5’s with 8GB of RAM for the price of one Pixel 2.

Decentralized Search Engines to Rival Google Based on Blockchain from Bitclave

I haven’t covered it in my blog here but many know the blockchain technology made popular by Bitcoin has other possibilities such as sharing data, files etc and one of the latest manifestations is the “Bitclave” project. The website doesn’t detail some of these things but here is what I gather and I apologize if it’s not 100%, but here is what I break it down as:

#1) Bitclave is a decentralized search engine based on blockchain technology.
#2) Bitclave has CAT which is it’s own cryptocurrency based off the same blockchain meant to be used as currency.
#3) Bitclave is unique in that unlike the current big search engines, they will not be freely selling your information to benefit unknown third parties.
#4) Bitclave is not only a decentralized search engine and currency but it also rewards you for engaging in particular offers if you want to buy a car or house, for engaging with particular companies and offers (even if you don’t buy) you are rewarded with some CAT currency.
#5) Your information is under your control and completely private so you can choose when and how to sell it for big money potentially to third parties.

I’m going to go into some of the pros and cons that I see.
Pros.
First and foremost this is an exciting project on its own due to the decentralized aspect of the search engine. It takes it one step further by giving the user control over their private search/marketing data and even lets them directly and profit in ways that are under their control.

It will also revolutionize business potentially if things are done this way under a mutual benefit between business and user. In fact if executed properly it could end or significantly change the internet business and search model as it exists now with the big engines and social sites.

Cons

However, the Bitclave team would still largely retain certain controls just as developers of any blockchain do which makes some aspects only as trustworthy as the team is capable and trustworthy for.

It is theoretically possible that the business model above could turn biased in a somewhat similar way that the mega search engines have done things, where the rules are constantly changing for the benefit of a few. However, this is not a likely thing in the near future since Bitclave needs to prove itself and gain trust to both users and business.

Another big concern, which is still a concern for the mega engines is how would spam, hateful, defamatory and other harmful material be handled? It is great to be free and decentralized but there needs to be some legal or other mechanism to prevent abuse of such a powerful search engine. It’s definitely worth checking out to see how things play out.

Conclusion
I am very excited about this project, it is more commercialized than I expected and could not be considered entirely open source or community based but I’m OK with it as long as it is executed as envisioned it will have a massive and positive impact on the internet which benefits the majority.

Good luck to the Bitclave team they could be making serious history in both blockchain, search and online commerce!