I believe in the open Internet, and I always think that what countries do when blocking services like Facebook or Google is just another form of censorship, a way to block information coming from outside that could put in danger the Government’s image or power.
But I have to recognize that I never looked at the issue from the point of view pointed out in this article from Al Jazeera (emphasis added):
Much as a nation would try to protect its domestic industries and allow them time to grow by applying import tariffs on foreign goods, China has grown a massive internet industry by protecting its industry from outside competition. Whether that ‘protectionism’ was outright like blocking Google, or making its domestic providers load faster for China’s web surfers – it is effective. Baidu, Ren Ren and Sina Weibo are Chinese success stories – with each of them publicly listed on American stock exchanges and garnering much attention.
I come from Spain, one of those countries where Google’s Search Engine has more than 90% of the market share with no local alternative known of, although we do have a powerful player in the social media game (Tuenti). So I can see the point on protecting the domestic market, both because I would like to see Spain playing an important role in the digital stage and because the unemployment rate is reaching 26%. A company like Google, Baidu, Facebook or Tuenti is great for any national economy.
Don’t missunderstand me, I’m really glad I had Google and Facebook and totally against any kind of blockage, but if you think about it China is just one official declaration away from opening its borders to Google and Facebook and allow real market competition, while the rests of the countries are now decades away from developing the industry able to compete with the big foreing corporations.