Twenty years after the world’s most populous country gained access to the Internet, China has been fundamentally and irreversibly changed by using the technology in unique ways.
As the Internet reshapes China, the country is also changing the online landscape through its rising Internet firms, brand-new products and the world’s largest web population of 618 million. On April 20, 1994, a pilot network to serve education and scientific research was linked to the Internet via a special line in Beijing’s Zhongguancun, known as China’s Silicon Valley, marking the country’s first fully functional Internet access. At the time, the only way for most Chinese to get news was by reading the next day’s state-run newspaper.The transformative power of the Internet has challenged top-down communication patterns in China by supporting multi-level and multi-directional flows of communication, changing the country’s political landscape. CCTV’s Han Peng visits Zhongguancun to talk to the founder of China’s Internet and trace its development.