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Top Internet Companies Establish Self-regulation System

The Internet Trust Alliance, established by China's top Internet companies Sina, Sohu and Netease, issued in Beijing Monday regulations for self-discipline of China's wireless service providers.


The move was made following the Ministry of Information Industry's clampdown on pornography and unreasonable charges, which began in July this year. The ministry's actions have sharply reined in growth in the short message service (SMS) sector.


Highlights of the alliance's regulations are a transparent charging system and legal content with no pornography.


The alliance will make a quarterly evaluation of service providers' performance and award Client Trusted Wireless Service (CTWS) certification for compliance.


Sohu CEO Zhang Chaoyang said, "We will put continued and serious effort into the establishment of a new CTWS brand, and the tremendous combined influence of Sina, Sohu and Netease will soon create a healthy and orderly environment for China's Internet wireless service development."


Sohu has recently suffered losses in its wireless service because of what it termed "strict governmental regulation."


Many of China's Internet companies, including Sohu and Sina, had some of their wireless services suspended when the Ministry of Information Industry found them violating regulations during its campaign that began last summer.


Industry sources say that before the crackdown, Internet users frequently complained about the spread of pornographic information through the Internet SMS, and "subscription pitfalls," where they would be charged several dollars a month if they mistakenly keyed a wrong button or submitted a default selection set up by the service provider.


Ding Lei, CEO of Netease, said, "Sohu, Sina and Netease, originally competitors in the Internet industry, are now standing together to regulate performance and cooperate to guarantee trusted service to our clients. As the wireless service industry develops, the self-discipline regulations will be expanded. This will bolster the industry's sustained growth and may also provide valuable experience for other industries."


Revenue at several Internet companies' wireless service businesses declined as a result of the government campaign in the second half. Sina's third-quarter SMS revenue slipped 6.6 percent compared with the previous quarter; Sohu's wireless service sank 30 percent and Netease's wireless-related service fell 16.4 percent.


Sina, Sohu and Netease formed their alliance in September.


(China Daily November 30, 2004)

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China Mobile Suspends Sohu MMS Service
Fight Against Internet Pornography Continues
Tighter Control of Nation's SPs
500 Porn Websites Identified Nationwide
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