Is There a Crack in the Chinese Firewall?

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Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Shaun Rein, managing director at China Market Research Group, comments on China allowing access to Facebook and Twitter in the Shanghai free trade zone. He speaks with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West." (Source: Bloomberg)

China morning post.

They say they are quoting government sources.

How big of a deal do you think this is if it is true that within the free trade zone you will be able to use facebook, twitter, and the new york times?

It is not going to be a huge game changer anytime soon.

The free trade zone is only 29 kilometers square and about an hour and a half away from downtown shanghai, so it is a very small area.

It means there are some people in the government starting to take a more pragmatic and realistic approach to the internet and china.

When we talk to foreign companies they say we cannot invest much in china or have our regional headquarters in shanghai because we cannot get access to information flow.

The internet policies in china are hurting foreign direct investment.

Even more importantly, it is hurting the competitiveness of chinese companies.

Chinese firms rollout wechat globally.

The real estate company bought the amc movie chain.

As they go into making hollywood pictures, if their executives do not know how to use twitter and facebook to reach the american consumer, they will be a failure.

We have seen this chorus of entrepreneurs from big chinese companies telling the government we need to have more unfettered access to the internet.

We were speaking with another guest earlier who has written a book about china like yourself.

He thinks this is a step in the right direction, that inevitably facebook and twitter will be unblocked and that it will happen sooner than we think.

You don't agree?

Gordon chang has been predicting the collapse of china for 13 years.

Every year he says he was wrong and it will happen next year.

This is a good potential first step.

It could be like the economics on rollout from the 1990's where you put a special economic zone.

It worked and the government adopted a lot of the same policies around the country.

Hopefully that would be the case on the internet.

I do not think it will change soon.

The president has been tracking -- cracking down on the internet in the last six months.

A little overzealous sometimes to ensure there is stability in the country.

There are a lot of beers from senior government officials of going back to a nebulous time when they were in their 20's and e30's and suffered.

We know mark zuckerberg has been there several times.

How important our meetings like this in potentially leading to an opening question mark is this sort of just maintaining the relationship?

Sheryl sandberg was here.

She was hugely popular.

She gave speeches and thousands of people came.

I do not think it will be important in terms of convincing the government unless you can build a lot of trust.

When google left china and criticize the government for censoring, after that it will be hard for chinese officials to trust any kind of western executive, especially in light of the snowden affair and some of the national security agency's. sheryl sandberg came and was hugely popular trade you're seeing more everyday chinese saying she is awesome and i love her book.

How come i cannot get access to her website is to mark that will be an issue as more chinese travel abroad.

We are expecting about 90,000 chinese to go international.

You are seeing everyday chinese at the middle-class level experiencing facebook and unfettered access around the world.

They are starting to question why the internet is so heavily censored right now.

Plenty of people are able to access facebook through vpn.

Are you willing to say at some point they will be accessible or do you think it is not a given?

I do not think it is a given.

I think it is unlikely twitter and facebook will be accessible in china in the next year or two.

I just do not see that happening.

People do use vpn.

A lot of newer five-star hotels have been installing vpn's directly into their internal systems so all guests are able to access it right away.

I was recently at the royal begonia, china's sort of hawaii of china.

They had unfettered internet access.

When i talk to the guest relations people they said we have to have it because we are trying to attract international clientele, so our boss said we are installing it to cater to european, russian, and american clients.

Always great to have you on the show.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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