Yahoo Brings Flickr To China

    March 16, 2007

Internet companies are salivating at the moneymaking opportunities presented in the thus far untapped Chinese marketplace. The dilemma, however, still lies in the form of censorship practices enforced by the nation’s government. Will the country’s officials allow a Chinese version of the site to be accessed?

There’s no denying Flickr’s outrageous popularity in the realm of online photo sharing and storage. Users are proud to show off their photo collections; often marketing their Flickr streams as natural extensions of their real-life interests and personalities. Always looking to capitalize on new markets, Yahoo is now looking to launch a Chinese version of Flickr’s photo sharing goodness.

Artistry and creative expression, however, aren’t exactly at the top of the list of things that the Chinese government values.

In fact, the harsh truth is that most non-Chinese content is heavily censored within the borders of the nation. Companies such as Google have faced a large amount of scrutiny for agreeing to censor the search results delivered to Chinese users, especially those that could lead to sites that contain a pro-democratic message.

A Reuters article found on CNET touches on the censorship issue as it pertains to Flickr:

While Beijing routinely censors online information it deems politically sensitive, Flickr–which has reportedly been blocked in United Arab Emirates–remains accessible in China, the world’s second-largest Internet market after the United States, with about 137 million Web users.

So it seems, then, that a Chinese version of Flickr may stand a decent chance of success given the fact that the current version isn’t censored by the nation’s government. It’s probably same to assume, however, that China will place stringent criteria on the images which can be shared via Flickr China, and take measures to heavily screen uploads to ensure that they conform to the established guidelines.