Government interest in online social networks in China is mounting, and it is likely to be only a matter of time before all online profiles in the country are government-approved. In August, the Ministry of Culture issued an interim provision for real-name registration for online gaming, followed by a more recent edict for mobile phone users, are seen as the first steps towards wider implementation.
The rise of social networking sites in China has delivered perhaps the strongest challenge yet to the established order of leading portals, their share of consumer time eroded by a compelling mix of social interaction and accessible easy-to-play games. In the long run, however, the success of these new sites points to an ever bigger prize: an online future where users entrust their personal details to a single site, invaluable to marketers, potentially with government approval.
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