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移动互联影响世界 余波冲击中国网吧业

本文摘要:Cyber cafés were once a social hub for China’s twenty somethings – and, for authorities, a convenient way to monitor what Chinese citizens were doing online. But as usage of smartphones and tablet devices expands, internet cafés are becomi


Cyber cafés were once a social hub for China’s twenty somethings – and, for authorities, a convenient way to monitor what Chinese citizens were doing online. But as usage of smartphones and tablet devices expands, internet cafés are becoming the collateral damage in the battle to get the country online.网吧一度是中国二十几岁年轻人的社交中心。而对于中国政府来说,网吧还是监控中国公民网上所作所为的便利途径。

但随着智能手机和平板设备的用于大大普及,网吧于是以沦为网民争夺战的间接牺牲品。“Several years ago, we were able to get tens of thousands of [renminbi] a day, but now we are only able to earn several thousand,” says Mr Liu, who runs an airy café with around 30 computers in Beijing’s central Chaoyangmen district of offices and shopping malls.刘先生(他拒绝接受透漏全名)在北京市中心的朝阳门商圈经营着一家网吧,该网吧通风较好,配备了约30台电脑。

刘先生说道:“几年前我们一天的收益能有几万元(人民币),但如今每天不能赚到到几千块钱。”The spread of cheap smartphones and tablets in China has reached the point that Mr Liu – who refused to give his first name – and many other internet café owners say they worry they are increasingly irrelevant to most Chinese, much like video rental shops have become in the US and Europe.中国廉价智能手机和平板电脑的普及,已令其刘先生等网吧老板开始深感忧虑,他们担忧对于多数中国人来说,网吧日益显得无关紧要,就像录影带出租店在欧美的遭遇一样。Research by Tencent, the Chinese social networking and gaming company, found that the number of internet cafés in China fell between 2011 and 2012 after rising consistently since 2004. Around 10,000 closed their doors for good last year, leaving the nation with 136,000 licensed cafés. Data for 2013 are not yet available.根据中国社交网络及游戏企业腾讯(Tencent)的研究,中国网吧的数量在2011年到2012年间有所增加,此前自2004年以来网吧数量一直在下降。


That decline comes as the percentage of Chinese with smartphones has more than doubled from 20 per cent in 2012 to nearly half this year, according to data from market researcher Canalys. Home broadband use has also risen, to 191m last year, a threefold rise from five years prior, according to research by CLSA, the brokerage.根据市场研究机构Canalys的数据,预示这一趋势而来的是,今年中国智能手机人群所占到比例较2012年的20%提升一倍以上,到超过将近一半的水平。而根据经纪公司里昂证券(CLSA)的研究,去年中国家庭宽带用户也快速增长到了1.91亿,是此前五年的三倍。

While bad news for owners, it is a welcome development for users as authorities have frequently used cafés as a way to monitor online behaviour.尽管这对网吧老板是个坏消息,互联网用户却十分青睐这一变化,因为网吧被中国官方频密地用于监控网络活动的途径。Activist groups point out that cafés are required to check and log users’ state identification, and police have been known to pressure some cafés to log the sites users visit or install surveillance cameras.有社会运动团体认为,网吧必须检查和注册使用者的身份证件号码,而众所周知警方还向部分网吧施加压力,被迫它们记录用户采访的站点或加装监控摄像头。“The authorities have used surveillance mechanisms in...internet applications on phones, but the sheer amount of information and the fact that it’s quite new makes it difficult to implement systems that are as effective,” says Maya Wang, a researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Asia division. “There is this infrastructure invested in surveilling these internet cafés.”人权仔细观察(Human Rights Watch)亚洲分部研究员阿莲(Maya Wang)回应:“当局在手机的互联网应用程序中植入了监控机制,但极大的信息量以及智能手机刚刚经常出现旋即的事实,使得在手机上构建某种程度有效地的监控系统十分困难。

而对于这些网吧,官方则已投资建设过此类基础设施。”The decline of the cafés, however, has more to do with changing technology than with the fact that dissidents avoid them.不过,相比异议人士人士不去网吧网际网路的因素,网吧的衰败与技术变革的关系更大。Those who still use cafés are those too poor to own a phone or are looking for company as they play the online multiplayer games that are massively popular, particularly with young men.仍在用于网吧的有两类人,一类是穷得买了手机的人,另一类是想要找寻同伴一起玩游戏网络游戏的人,这种游戏近于热门——特别是在是受到年轻人的青睐。

It was a year ago, says a long-time staff member at a café near the centre of the city of Wenzhou, that business started to go downhill for them and the other cafés in their district. The only ones in the city still doing well are those in industrial areas, frequented by poorer migrant factory workers.一位长年在温州市中心附近一家网吧工作的员工回应,他们网吧和同区其他网吧的做生意一年前开始走下坡路。该市做生意仍然不俗的网吧全部坐落于工业区,那些网吧的常客是比较更加贫困的外来务工人员。While availability of smartphones cheaper than $100 has put the handsets within reach of more people, not all those phones are on fast 3G connections. CLSA estimates that while 3G use nearly doubled between 2011 and 2012, it still stands at only 233m users in a nation of 1.3bn.市场上经常出现价格高于100美元的智能手机之后,更加多人需要负担得起手机了,然而这些手机并不是全都能连到高速3G网络。

里昂证券估算,尽管2011年到2012年间中国3G用户将近翻了一番,在这个13亿人的国度中,3G用户人数依然只有2.33亿。But while cafés are monitored particularly closely, the Wenzhou worker says he has his doubts that users of mobile internet will be that much freer.不过,前述温州网吧员工回应,尽管在网吧不会受到十分紧密的监控,但他猜测移动互联网用户否不会有小得多的维度。“The government’s control on using internet is very strict,” he says.他说道:“政府对用于互联网的掌控是十分严苛的。