Social Media, The Internet And Marketing In Chinese And Western Context
New technologies have come to replace traditional methods of transmission media and radically changed the contours of the modern media space over the past few years. They became inherent in growing and already overwhelming humans’ volume of messages, their convergent evolution, which is expressed in the unity of text, sound, and images of what is happening, the active development of new types of media, and so on. All these manifestations are truly unique in the preceding background of the evolution of mass communication both in the West and East.
Undoubtedly, the mass media claims to be a very powerful factor of the person's outlook formation and the value orientation of society that takes place of one of the psychosocial environmental components. Being translators of cultural achievements, they actively influence social acceptance of certain cultural values, and, therefore, they do take part in the formation of these values while remaining unchecked and poorly understood. Thus, we can say that the globalization of information space and technological advances have transformed the media into a powerful factor of influence in the picture of the world while continuing to generate negative symbolic system. This phenomenon has its own reasons.
Firstly, the development of the mass media has led to 'a shortage of abundance'. Indeed, a huge amount of information deletes causal relationships, and the person ceases to perceive it with confidence. Secondly, the media performs the supply of information and creates a kind of representation, show, game, exploiting the human craving for entertainment, sensationalism, and mass spectacles. In everyday life, people aspire to become participants of a magical action. Thirdly and finally, the basis of human communication becomes visual that is displaced from the usual codes of communication of verbal and nonverbal language. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between social media, the internet, and marketing as the phenomena that have been utilized in various ways in China. In order to achieve this goal, it is necessary to discuss this phenomenon in the Chinese and Western contexts and then come up with the discussion of comparing them.
The Relationship between Social Media, the internet, and Marketing in Chinese Context
The reports of the various countries state that China, as a rule, occupies the first place in the list of countries carrying out hacker attacks and acts of cyber espionage. According to American experts, the Chinese army possesses special units which are specialized in cyberwarfare and are able to destroy the majority of the US information infrastructure facilities if necessary. Tellingly, China is not inclined to exaggerate its own achievements in cyberspace.
The Chinese experts often point to the fact that the country's security of information systems is still in its early stage of development and is very vulnerable to the actions and technologies in the prescription of the leading world powers' cyberstrategies. Chinese leaders fear that in the case of a large-scale cyberattacks, they might lose control of the nodal points of the information infrastructure. However, they can discredit the country by external forces in this situation.
China is aware that in case of a direct confrontation with the US army and its weapons, they are not yet able to provide an adequate response. Therefore, to achieve and maintain parity with the West authorities, the Chinese are actively engaged in the development of the cyber means that can bring down entire enemy's information infrastructure in case of an attack on their country. The main weakness of Chinese social media, the internet, and marketing development in terms of new technologies is the inability to create their own new technologies.
Information and communications technology (ICT) that operates in China is usually a skillfully copied and modified technology that puts the country in the path of catch-up modernization, and the country is not yet able to generate its own developments. However, there has been a sharp increase in investment into cybersecurity and into the implementation of native Chinese projects in the field of ICT recently. This field, as a consequence, has become a priority for innovative development.
The government of China secured important points about the development of cyberspace and its security by means of the strategic program of innovative development. Information security for China (including all the aspects of the internet) is the first and foremost safety of its innovation, and this is an important feature of the country's approach to the issues of information and cybersecurity.
The Chinese model of innovative development is based on strict adherence to the national interests and to the continuous expansion of the scientific and technical base of the country while actively attracting investment in the development and continuous improvement of legislation in the field of intellectual property protection in the field of social media, the internet, and marketing. The program recognizes that in the production of high-tech products in the field of ICT, China is still dependent on Western technology, which can harm the whole Chinese information infrastructure, innovative developments, and pose a threat to national security with the help of built-in spyware.
Reducing the China's dependence on Western ICT is seen as an important means of ensuring cybersecurity within the country. In China, there is no single strategy for the development of cyberspace and insurance of the security of information systems in social media, the internet, and marketing; however, it does not mean that there is no conceptual justification for the significance of the problem.
The main document which highlights the significant role of ICT in the life of Chinese society, social media, the internet, and marketing's proper functioning is a comprehensive concept of the country’s national security. The concept noted that the modern world of information not only opens up a lot of opportunities but also poses a threat to the political, economic, and military security in China. Much attention in the document is paid to the internet as the most significant but the least manageable segment of the global information space. Thus, it becomes extremely difficult to control and protect social media, the internet, and marketing spheres within the country.
The Relationship between Social Media, the Internet, and Marketing in the Western Context
The Western context is mainly represented by the USA and its approach to cybersecurity of social media, the internet, and marketing. First and foremost, it is important to place an emphasis on the fact that the country takes care of this field of social activity in order to sustain the national security.
The rapid development of networking for the internet communications and e-commerce has provoked the emergence of new forms of products' promotion, the potential of which has not been properly developed yet. Today we are witnessing a radical transformation of methods and techniques of marketing due to the peculiarities of the web communications network.
This phenomenon not only opens up new opportunities for the promotion of products in the network. Network online communications form an entirely new institutional environment of e-commerce in the USA and in the West in general. Such an environment is almost not interfered with the traditional institutional environment being located outside the sphere of influence in terms of the members of traditional marketing relationships.
Advanced forms of e-commerce have always been associated with the development of computer technology. This fact is explained by the statement that in the USA, computer technology along with social media, the internet, and marketing are much closer institutionally to the traditional economy than virtual web communications technology. However, computer technology is only determining the conditions of network technology and e-commerce.
In the USA, with the growth of the internet development, marketing is different from purely new forms of products' promotion via the Internet. There are completely different laws of market conduct and other mechanisms of marketing communications. The problem is that network marketing features of the internet communications have not been adequately reflected yet not only in the marketing methodology but also in its marketing theory. Today, the institutional aspect of network marketing communications in the internet continues to be out of the traditional socio-economic institutions' sight. Here, the internet in the USA is dominated by its institutional processes reflecting the emergence of new economic relations in new (virtual) conditions of economic activity. The part of the described situation is reminiscent of a fantastic parallel world, where there are one of the dimensions (geographical distance) and other physical laws.
Thus, it becomes difficult to apply coordinate system every day to the US internet space and cybersecurity. This requires completely different tools for analysis based on understanding of the laws and realities. The situation is aggravated by the fact that new virtual world has been developed without regard to the old world of material production. Being practically independent of material factors, it is rapidly changing and easily transformed in accordance with the change requests that are involved in the virtual relationships of subjects.
In the nearest future, the computer environment of the technological innovations will be easily predicted as the cycle of development and introduction to the mass use of computer technology is long enough. In a virtual environment and forms of network communication, it is also largely virtual. This means that their appearance is not directly dependent on the dynamics of computer technologies development.
Network forms of communication on the basis of demand arise in the internet virtually from nothing. Therefore, the economic analysis of the network marketing communications, social media, and potential of the internet in the USA do not take into account the characteristics of the institutional environment that determines the features and methods of the goods promotion via the Internet. Marketing theory is behind the marketing practices in such conditions. Today, the network can find a variety of forms of institutionalization of the communicative environment, which, however, can be classified into many of these forms since they become widely used to advance goods and services in the internet. Moreover, the effectiveness of such a move suggests the formation of a new marketing tool, which is radically different from the traditional methods of promotion and competing on an equal footing with traditional marketing practices.
Discussion and Comparison
When discussing and comparing the approaches of the USA and China in the field of cyberspace technologies, it is possible to note that they have particular interdependent features: one of them, China, always tries to produce the threats and attacks; while another one, the US, develops the security programs in order to be able to resist Chinese tactics. The root of such a relationship lies in the political particularities of the two countries' relations, where there is a constant competition in terms of military and economic forces.
The control methods that exist in Chinese social media, marketing, and the internet do not mean that the latter lags behind the Western development trends of the global network in the country. The Chinese internet control system is very flexible and provides various exemptions for certain categories of users: scientists, media professionals, and businessmen including foreign investors. Chinese internet market service, similarly to the USA, is one of the fastest growing sector, which attracts the attention of investors in particular. It is noteworthy that, in spite of the censorship of content and traffic filtering, most Chinese people use the internet to search for news, participate in social networks and entertainment, and go online shopping. The numerous Western high-tech companies came into the Chinese market, which is due to very favorable conditions that the Chinese authorities have created.
Concerning the United States and comparing them with China, it is possible to note that modern social networks are gradually turning into the newest social institution with all its attributes. Nevertheless, the US cyberspace (in comparison to the Chinese one) is characterized by specific features that are inherent to the data of web services uniting whole regions, countries, and continents simultaneously. Among the reasons relating to the new social network in the USA, social media, the internet, and marketing relationships can be identified by the presence of a particular structure and organization of the network and the presence of common functions for all social institutions. This is necessary in order to meet the needs of society. The US is also characterized by the possibility of regulating social processes taking place within the network. A particular attention is to be paid to the presence of social groups and social organizations that have been designed to meet the needs of groups, individuals; to the possibility of mentation of economic activities within the network; to the integration of social networks in the socio-political life of the society; and to the socialization of individuals operating within the network.
From a policy perspective, social networking in the USA is an online resource with not fully explored and open possibilities. However, the potential of web services data is very large. Almost every self-respecting politician has his account in social networks and blog platforms and puts there his/her political, propaganda, and security (if desired) information. Thus, in theory, almost any citizen can engage in dialogue with some interesting political figure. However, everything may be different as for this practice.
In reality, the communication deals with the speechwriter, assistant, or deputy at best; it may not even occur at worst. In comparison to China, this practice has almost not been elaborated at all. It would be much better to spread reports of the political activities in order to have voters be able to evaluate the real effectiveness of a particular politician. It should be noted that the establishment of political and social development of the networks in China is at a lower level than in the Western countries. This is one of the indicators of backwardness of the country and the lack of new social and political technologies.
Strengthening of the very new media role in society is a worldwide trend, and it can be seen in the example of Europe and America. There are social networks and blogs, which are the most common and widely used tools of public discourse. In the US, there are about twenty functioning political social network, each of which has its own mission.
To promote scientific and applied research of foreign companies in China, the system of the so-called communication ports – areas free of customs and tax regulations – are focused on the development of innovative technologies, e-commerce, marketing, social media, and information technology. The active involvement of Western technology and foreign investment does not necessarily mean that they are free to carry out their activities in the country and beyond the control of the authorities. China's State Council is considering the internet as an important public infrastructure, which should be within the framework of Chinese sovereign control. This approach may be seen in the Western context of the internet services and mechanisms.
The violations of the Chinese internet segment by the external forces are seen as a threat to national security; this can be found in the US’ approach to the national security of the country. When using a global network, foreign citizens and companies located in China must follow the norms of the legislation and requirements of the authorities. Any foreign legal entity cannot enter into the Chinese market because its government adopts the rules of the game and has to act in accordance with them. Hence, any Chinese company specializing in providing ICT services is required to obtain a license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to operate before it enters the market. It is because of the lack of a license from the Chinese Google's offices in the beginning of the problem.
The paper is dealing with the comparison of the Chinese and Western (mainly American) context of social media, marketing, and the internet. Having compared these two contexts, it becomes clear that a distinctive feature of the Chinese internet is a clear regulation of not only technical and organizational procedures but also user behavior in virtual space. In China, the term ‘freedom of expression’ does not exist, which is dissimilar to the USA, and there is a free internet zone only theoretically. In reality, users have a range of duties and have to reckon with the limitations imposed on the use of the regulatory authorities.
In order to achieve a leading position in the world market, both China and the US are actively engaged in the development of cyber means. The PRC leadership is becoming increasingly difficult to show its ignorance and innocence during active exploration of the electronic means and penetration into cyberspace foreign countries. The efficiency of Chinese cyberattacks is realized due to close cooperation between the government agencies and hackers. To enhance China's capabilities in cyberspace, PLA is actively cooperating with business organizations and the education sector, thereby gaining access to advanced research and technology including military and dual-purpose telecommunications systems. The reduction of the reliance on information and communication technologies of the West and the development of its own innovative potential are seen as important means of ensuring cybersecurity in China.
Through a broad investment in internet technology aimed at stimulating the creation of media in the internet and the development of social networks in particular, China seeks to create a positive image in the international arena and mitigate the effect by creating a negative perception of pluralism of foreign audiences as for some of the problems of the country’s internal political development. These conclusions lead to the following recommendations.
With regard to social networks and blogs, the Chinese authorities have to carry out the policy of total control as well as in relation to other online resources. Blog-hostings are prohibited from providing services to users who provide their true and complete data at registration. These databases can be penetrated by the opponents and used in their personal purposes.
In order to gain control over social networking, social media, and internet services, it is necessary to put in place new rules to prevent the spread of rumors in the network and calls for protests. All 324 million people registered in the social network received the score of 80 points to be taken away for a policy violation. The fine system has been planned in terms of implementation. It might comprise of the calling for illegal activity, violation of the order by creating illegal organizations, and for the organization of unauthorized protests, demonstrations, and meetings as well. Bloggers will be punished for spreading rumors, affecting the honor of China, and undermining the stability within society.
In regard to the USA, their social media, the internet, and the marketing area are to be more and more keen on the security. This aspect, the security, determines the overall country's safety and prevents the national databases from harm. Furthermore, in order to meet the threats of the Chinese cyber hackers, the United States, for instance, have to elaborate the security systems which would stop these attacks forever.