The World Wide Web underwent a revolution several years ago when it was transformed from purely being a source of information to a platform on which users could interact and collaborate with one another, and out of which web-based communities grew. The Web became Web 2.0. The effects of this participative, interactive use of the Internet have been pervasive, impacting on many aspects of societies around the world.
However, Web 2.0 has been much more profound in its impact on China than on any other country. China is in the midst of a radical transformation that has - thus far - not been well understood, especially by foreigners. Interconnection and collaboration among Chinese citizens using Web 2.0 is real and massive - indeed, among the 300 million Internet users and over 600 million mobile phone users in China, the level of connectivity is staggering. The mobilization of public opinion, though under the government's censorship, has caused a new social order in China.
Besides fundamentally altering the social order, Web 2.0 is impacting massively on the way that business is done (most especially, relationships with consumers) and the way public opinion is handled. Even more profoundly, it is creating a level of political transparency and institutional reforms which China has thus far avoided. It is no exaggeration to claim that a completely new era in China's five-thousand year historical development - China 2.0 - has arrived.
This book carefully maps the ways in which China is being transformed socially, politically, technologically and economically - and the implications of those changes for a variety of stakeholders. One thing is absolutely clear - engaging with China on the basis of previous philosophies and practices will not work in China 2.0. All manner of stakeholders - businesspersons, corporations and governments, among others - need to develop a new mindset and new skills if they are to be effective in China.