More China-Only Standards

from the they're-everywhere dept

Okay, okay, we get it. China absolutely does not want to play in any sort of global technology standard. For a while, they wanted nothing to do with WiFi, claiming it was insecure, and tried to put together their own WAPI standard, which has been on-again, off-again multiple times. Then there’s 3G broadband wireless. While the rest of the world seems to be going with EVDO or UMTS/HSDPA China keeps on insisting that it’s going to have its very own 3G standard, TD-SCDMA, despite the fact that every time we’re told it’s ready to go, it turns out the technology doesn’t work and it needs to be delayed again. The latest, comes from Sachin Garg, who writes China’s People’s Daily tells us that China’s Ministry of Information has approved their AVS video coding standard. This proprietary standard is an attempt to sidestep the increasingly large burden of royalties that China pays for MPEG patent licensing. Encouraged by their government, Chinese electronics firms are shunning technological protocols invented abroad and developing their own. This AVS codec is a part of China’s own DVD format. “Commercial use of this technology is expected to start by the end of this month with mobile TV services offered by the country’s major mobile operators”.” Avoiding royalty payments is often the excuse given, though sometimes they like to talk about how existing standards just aren’t secure enough. However, it seems like there’s plenty of evidence suggesting a bigger reason may be the ability to build in backdoors to any of these technologies.

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Comments on “More China-Only Standards”

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Howard (user link) says:

Re: Re: China-only internet?

I doubt that China will cut itself off from the rest of the Internet. There are too many people like me who do business with China. Cutting off the flow of billions of Dollars of trade would produce a revolution. They’ve already got enough of a problem with the 21+ million young men of approximately military-service age (many with military training) who can’t find wives due to decades of government policies that led to massive female infanticide and sex-selective abortions. Capitalism is firmly enough intrenched in China that the current attempts to control information flow (i.e., money flow) will ultimately fail. And we’d better hope they don’t really try all that hard, because a Chinese revolution at this point could easily become a world war.

The Celtic Fiddler

Anonymous of Course says:


Another manifestation of China’s xenophobic nature. There is also an economic pressure at work here too. They believe that to lead rather than follow they must develop their own standards. The part about the standards being a vehicle for common development and interoperability seems to have escaped the PRC. So they rush headlong with immense ego busily developing defective standards with a good measure of NOH factor thrown in to boot. I believe they actually think that the rest of the world will accept some of these standards
giving them a competative edge as the innovators.

Adam W says:

Geo Politics at play

International standards bodies are almost always a political afair, no matter how utilitarian the subject being discussed. The so-called International Community is heavily dominated by US-UK-EU oriented interests, and other countries are expected to tow this line. China however sees itself as an “emerging superpower” or “awakening giant” and feels it is about time the dominant powers started treating it like an equal.

Regardless of whether or not specific wireless committies payed enough attention to China’s needs in this case, there is a 50 year history of the PRC being snubbed in the International arena by Western powers, so now that China has the ecomonic clout (and third world political influence) to asert itself, it will. And if the established players won’t let China dictate terms for once, China is happy to use it’s state capitalist model to good effect and create a new Beta vs VHS style global market struggle to make a point.

Media and communications formats make a good vehicle for Chinese political manipulation because the Chinese consume “content” so voraciously.

Or, to put it another way: If China is going to be the number 1 producer and consumer of (for example) blank discs over the next 10 years, why should it have to pay Japan for the right to use them?

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