China has over 450 million Internet users and we’re now witnessing Chinese digital culture turn into a precursor of things to come.
If Japanese mobile culture set the future vision for mobile in the ‘00s, Chinese digital culture looks set to become a similar bellwether in global digital culture for the next decade. In simple terms, with so many people participating online, we can look for emerging behaviors that may bubble up in the West as well.
Over the past few years we’ve seen concepts develop and catch on in China that have come to fruition in the West later on. One recent example is this year’s riots in Vancouver and London. As people publicly rioted in these cities, other citizens posted photos of the events on social media. Citizens and police alike turned to the Web to identify the offenders. Media coverage discussed the odd role social media played in turning citizens into vigilantes and the rise of a mobile-fuelled “transparent society.”