China and Gmail

China and Google are currently arguing over who is responsible for the current slowness of Gmail in China.  Naturally, I don’t have any specific information about who is to blame but can report the following technical observations, pursuant to my recent return from China:

  • Unsurprisingly, expats with whom I spoke universally blame the Chinese government for the problems.
  • The problems seem to be manifesting themselves all over the country.
  • I couldn’t open my Google Calendar on several occasions and couldn’t open Google Docs at all during my 8-day trip
  • One investor indicated that much of his fund’s information infrastructure is located on Google and that his firm was accordingly affected negatively.

It was interesting to note that at least one experienced expas seemed to think that the central government would eventually change its policy.  He, a savvy China-based consultant who has lived there for two decades, believed that the Chinese government’s interest in creating a friendly business environment would overwhelm other considerations with regard to the speed of Gmail.

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