from The Startup
In February 2016, I went to China to celebrate Lunar New Year with my relatives. Having emigrated to North America over 14 years ago, I’ve always been amazed by China’s continuous transformation.
As my life in the West became interweaved with services provided Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Uber, Youtube, and Amazon, I realized that my relatives in China couldn’t access any of these services (with the exception of Uber and Amazon in some cities). This is due to China’s Great Firewall, which blocked off most Western Internet technologies.
Though I had read about the rise of WeChat, Alibaba and Xiaomi, I had little idea about what the actual implications were on the people who lived there. The lack of context meant that numbers and figures remained as such. Subconsciously, I still assumed that the tech industry there was lagging behind, limited by the Firewall, churning out tasteless knockoffs.