Tuesday, March 07, 2006

International Business Is Getting Harder

Doing business is getting tougher. Business and communication-related freedoms that we take for granted can get you locked up abroad and can have you bumping up against the Patriot Act here. In China, which practices strick censorship, hosting a website, or providing certain common business offerings could get you a call from a representative of the Chinese government -- and your client jailed. And amazingly the 8 million plus links to Britney Spears aren't available over the net in China (hmmm).

Web logs (blogs) are a common tool for personal and professional expression and are rapidly being seen as viable business tools. In a recent conversation with the principle of a marketing consultantcy, he explained that they were going to use a blog-style web presence for their personal and professional branding site. He shared that, in his business, personal style was the thing and the at blog would allow them to really connect personally with their clients and prospects -- sharing personal opinions about how everything from market trends to goverment regulations are impacting his clients. That ability to freely post opinions and insights isn't universal.

Microsoft and Google have already felt the pinch and have, surprisingly, acquiesced to the demands of these other governments. Google now shows a different search response set to those in China and other countries -- a response set that conforms to their regulations.

Rather than making these countries wrong, my suggestion is that we work to understand that these countries are in the process of progress as is our own. This last century saw unheralded rights protections for women, children, Blacks, Native Americans, gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, and religiuos minorities. We have to create offerings that touch our prospects without running afoul of their regs and being excluded while they continue their path to growth.

Further Reading
In China, Blogs Are Revolutionary Tool of Opinion
Google News and China