Monthly Archives: September 2009

Asia-related links I am reading

China’s censorship arms race escalates – Excellent coverage on Internet censorship in Mainland China by Rebecca Mackinnon.

Why and How Facebook should come to Southeast Asia – Bernard Leong’s excellent treatise on Facebook in SE Asia. If he wasn’t running his own SNS, Facebook should hire Bernard ;)

Google Losing in China as New Users Go to Baidu – Google losing search market share in China.

Forbes: The Man Who’s Beating Google – Long portrait of Robin Li, Founder & CEO of Baidu.

Japan’s PPC ad market will reach $2 billion by 2013 – Decent, but it could/should be bigger.

E-Commerce Is Getting Chinese to Loosen Their Purse Strings – NYT on ecommerce trends in China. Ecommerce and the related Internet advertising to support ecommerce will be key to a more vibrant web in China.

South Korea Approves Sale of Apple’s iPhone – Channy has been waiting for this day for a long time :)

South Korea Clears Way for iPhone Sales – No one has still explained how S. Koreans are going to do anything on the iPhone that requires a secure transaction if no Korean web services support SSL.

Vietnam’s rebounding economy – V not yet for victory – Economist on Vietnam’s macroeconomic challenges.

Software piracy costs Vietnam $275 million every year – Vietnam has done well with open source software but could do a lot more.

Want to live like Commons people?
Joi Ito talks about Creative Commons, Twitter, and the White House – Guardian UK interviews Joi Ito.

Firefox in the Philippines

Before you read my post (below) about Mozilla’s recent activities in the Philippines, please note that the September 26-27 Tropical Storm Ketsana has caused over 100 deaths and over 340,000 affected by the flooding – the worst flooding in Manila in living memory.  Aggregated information about the floods and how to donate to those who were affected can be found at Ondoy Relief, Typhoon Ondoy, Pinoy Tumblr, Ondoy Tumblr and the Philippine National Red Cross.

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Over the weekend of Sept. 18-20, Seth Bindernagel and I traveled to Manila to begin to understand the Philippines as a growing community of Mozilla users.  We met various people in order to begin to understand the Philippines as an Internet market including domain registrars, network operators, social network service operators, web developers, a group of Spread Firefox Campus Representatives from a few of the schools local to Manila, and the attendees of the 2009 WordCamp Philippines event.

Dinner with the Mozilla Spread Firefox Campus Reps:

dinner in Quezon City

Campus representatives in the Philippines

Seth has covered a lot of the information we learned from our trip but I wanted to share a few other pieces of information as well as some photos of the places and the people we met.

Chin Wong, who writes the Digital Life column in the Manila Standard met with us and provided a good overview in his article of what we are trying to understand with regards to web usage in the Philippines.


Digital Life by Chin Wong — Filipino Firefox
DO we need a Filipino-language version of Firefox? Mozilla, maker of the world’s most downloaded browser, wants to know.

Chin provided a thoughtful response in the column wherein the first response was that most Filipinos use the Internet in English, all software in English, so a localized (Filipino) version of Firefox is not necessary. But he went on to note that:

On the other hand, I realize there might be a lot of interest in a localized browser, and that there are many more end-users out there [in the Philippines] for whom English is not their first language. After all, the most widely viewed TV shows are all in Filipino, and the most widely read newspapers aren’t the English-language broadsheets but Filipino tabloids. Certainly, folks who fit this media profile would benefit from a Filipino browser.

The majority of people we met with in the few days we were in Manila were more than happy with the English Firefox, which makes sense. These are Internet professionals, web developers, bloggers, people who’s entire academic education was in English. For people like this, an English language Firefox is most natural. But considering the nature of the Philippines, where there are multiple languages in use across the over 7000 islands, where a majority of the population has yet to get online in the first place, and considering how common it is for people to use Filipino (or Taglish) in daily conversation, Seth and I came away convinced that there is a need for a more localized version of Firefox. Exactly what that will look like should be up to the Filipinos who will make that happen, but we’re looking forward to what that may be.

In the coming days, we will be launching a Filipino community mailing list and hopefully from there a website with perhaps a forum so that Filipino users and developers can start collaborating and sharing and planning what to do with Mozilla or Firefox in the Philippines.  If you’d like more information on this new Mozilla community in the Philippines, please leave a comment and I’ll email you the details once they are running.

I am also hoping to be back in Manila for the Philippine Blog Awards, which Mozilla is co-sponsoring this year.  I look forward to meeting bloggers and Firefox users at the Blog Awards event in Manila.

Here are some photos from Seth & my trip to Manila:

Makati at dusk

Makati at dusk

The infamous traffic of Manila (on a Friday night in rush hour no less)

jeepney in traffic in Manila

Beau Lebens, Automattic

2009 WordCamp Philippines 0363

Seth Bindernagel, Mozilla

Seth Bindernagel, Mozilla

2009 WordCamp Philippines speakers on stage

2009 WordCamp Philippines speakers

Please Don’t Hurt the Web, Use Open Standards

use open standards

Seth & Beau providing entertainment as they eat Balut. (I didn’t partake.)

Seth & Beau providing entertainment

Even many of the Filipinos at dinner that night don’t eat balut…

Seth & Beau eating balut

Mozilla in the Philippines

It’s very exciting to be in Manila this week, learning about the Internet in the Philippines and trying to understand how Firefox has recently become very popular in this country.  Mozilla’s Seth Bindernagel and I will be at WordCamp Philippines 2009 on Saturday, September 19th to hear from Filipino web designers and bloggers about the web in the Philippines, Firefox in the Philippines and what Mozilla can or should do here in the Philippines.

Seth and I are hosting an informal evening with some of our volunteer university campus representatives on the evening of Friday, September 18th.  We are meeting at the Food Court of Gateway Mall, Cubao, Quezon City at 19:30 on Sept. 18th.  Please feel free to leave a comment or email me if you would like to join us. (Campus reps who we are already in touch over email, no need to RSVP again here.)

If you are coming to WordCamp here in Manila, we’ll see you at the event.

Seth and I will be sharing more information about what we are learning here at our respective blogs and hope to meet more Mozilla and Firefox fans here in the Philippines.

If you cannot join us this week, I will be back in early October for the Philippine Blog Awards and hope to see you there!

web browser marketshare in China

This news is a week old but I saw some fascinating news on browser marketshare in China via Global Times: Chinese browsers are putting the heat on Internet Explorer.


Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) browser, which once dominated the Chinese Internet world with 96 percent of the market, has seen its share shrink to 57.8 percent due to the growing popularity of domestic brands.

It’s the lowest level in Microsoft’s history in China as domestic brands such as Maxthon, Tencent TT and Qihoo360′s 360 Secured Browser now account for 31.1 percent of the country’s browser market, according to data by iResearch.

The 360 Secured Browser‘s share has increased 50 percent from each previous quarter for three consecutive quarters, with its market share currently at 8.4 percent, iResearch said.

I have more questions than when I started reading this article such as:

- What is “domestic” Chinese about browsers (Maxthon, TT Browser, Green Browser, 360 Secured, etc.) that are powered by the Trident layout engine used in Internet Explorer, which is designed, developed and distributed by Microsoft Corporation from Redmond, Washington, USA?

Japanese browser wrapper providers like Lunascape and Sleipnir also claim to be “Japanese” when similarly the core layout technology of those browsers is made by Microsoft or Mozilla or Webkit (Apple/Google). There is nothing “Japanese” about those browsers except the “chrome.”

- If you add up the 57.8% that IE has, and the 31.1% that the Trident-based Chinese browsers have, you end up with 88.9% or basically 89% of the Chinese market uses the Trident layout engine.  So clearly it is still a struggle for a Webkit or Gecko based browser to gain market share in China if the majority of the web pages are probably coded for IE.  Once Trident-based browsers lose more than 15-20% share, web compatibility usually stops becoming an issue.

-What makes 360 Secured Browser more secure than other browsers? Are there real security features that 360 Secured has that other browsers do not?  Or is it merely marketing?

- What makes the Chinese users so different that Firefox is “culturally different” and therefore harder to use for Chinese users when Firefox is often very popular in just about every other country across the globe?

There is so much about the China market that is unique for many reasons, be it at the network level where the main networks in the country (China Netcom, China Unicom, Chinese university network) do not peer, or the Green Dam Youth Escort, or the Golden Shield Project. But even at the browser level, China’s Internet market is quite different than any other.

I’d welcome your thoughts on what makes the Chinese market interesting and unique and what Mozilla should do to better address the China market.

Weave server in 200 lines of Python

It’s always interesting when worlds collide.

Yesterday my friend Fazal Majid, who I have known for years from his excellent blog, wrote about implementing his own local copy of Weave in 200 lines of Python.

I’ve notified the Weave team at Mozilla and they’re looking forward to meeting with Fazal and moving his code to version control so that it can be updated and shared with more Weave fans.

Thanks to Fazal for releasing his code into the public domain for reuse.

Future Web Forum 2009 – Sept. 4 – Seoul

Channy Yun of the Mozilla Korea community tells me that the Future Web Forum 2009 event is this Friday, September 4th, in Seoul. Channy will be speaking about Firefox 3.5 and Firefox.next while Joone Hur will be speaking about the current state of Fennec (see event program).

Last year Mitchell Baker and I spoke at this event which was scheduled alongside the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Internet.  Vint Cerf and Mitchell both keynoted the event last year.

If you are in Seoul this Friday, don’t miss this event as it is one of the few events which showcases browsers other than IE in Korea.