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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Stoned4Life, Dec 8th, 2005 @ 7:21pm


    The only way the government can totally control all information going in and out of China is through total domination of all media aspects. If they drop mpeg leaving only their own codec, they can control what is played through this codec.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2005 @ 7:49pm

    Re: Control

    I agree. I believe that this has to be rooted in the totalitarian nature of the Chinese government and their attempt to control the inflow of outside cultural influences. Just wait, soon China will announce a China-only internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Howard, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 6:25am

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    melancolico catrin, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 8:32am

    National Firewall

    They have a national firewall, plus they have American businesses like Google and Microsoft helping them out, and a little snitch called Yahoo that exposes dissidents...
    The PRC is on a steady track to have its own internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Chris H, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 9:52am

    No Subject Given

    The easiest way to control what your population thinks and believes, is to control what they hear and see.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    blah, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 3:48pm


    and us Americans keep pouring billions of dollars into China, and then we get all frazzled when they rip us off.

    Time to cut China back off. Things were better before then were allowed into the G8.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous of Course, Dec 9th, 2005 @ 8:40pm


    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Adam W, Dec 11th, 2005 @ 5:37pm

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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