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America Online

AOL Moves Into China 108

fish writes: "BetaNews has just posted an article that details how AOL is about to announce a joint venture with China's largest PC maker. Apparently this sets the stage for AOL China. How do you say 'You've Got Mail' in Mandarin?"
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AOL Moves Into China

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Welcome! We have detected treasonous activity on your account! Great news. you will be executed tomorrow afternoon. Don't be late!

    -- The Friendly People @ AOL.

    P.S. Your account will still get billed after your death. And we WILL collect from your family.

    visit our sponsor [amazon.com]. Tracking your treasonous book buying habits since 1995.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't think they hate Americans. I think the china vs america hacks were petty nationalism and nothing more..just proof why we should not allow anyone under 21 years of age to access the net from both sides of the pacific(jk):) AOL/TM, and the rest of the multinational corporations, are becoming the global gov't. We,the people, are just workers/customers for the new plantation masters(aol/gm/ibm/etc) of this planet. I believe by 2010 Corporate brands(symbols) will have more meaning than national brands(flags). As far as censorship goes.. The internet threatens the tyannical gov't of china. It weakens it's credibility and leadership by giving people access to information outside of gov't approved channels. No amounts of AOL/gov't filtering can prevent this. There are encryption sites like safeweb.com that lets chinese bypass their govt approved channels on the net. Plus, Time is the greatest enemy of the chinese govt,which consist of old leaders who will die off in a decade or two the max. The more chinese gets on the net the more chinese who will know what's really happening in the world. Previewer
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think it would be "ni3 you3 dian4zi3you2jian4 le" (where the numbers indicate tone. 3 is a fall and then a rise in pitch. 4 is just a fall. 2 is just a rise.) I'm not positive about that word for email, since it seems a bit long. It's what my dictionary said, though. I'm also not positive about "you3" since that just literally means "have" and Chinese uses that much differently than English does.
  • by abischof ( 255 ) <alex @ s p a m c o p.net> on Saturday May 26, 2001 @11:21AM (#196573) Homepage
    If only America Online changed their name for their international business divisions... Sweden Online has a particularly appropriate acronym, for instance ;).

    Alex Bischoff
  • In the UK (and I'd guess elsewhere), AOL is known simply as AOL - they don't use the America OnLine name at all over here.
  • How do you say Americans are a bunch of brainwashed dum-dums who don't know the first thing about China or its government?

    I can't believe how quickly the "eternally vigilant" readers of Slashdot have fallen for all the anti-china warmongering garbage coming out of the US state department and Hollywood.
  • You mean, include optional filtering software on the CD... just like AOL in the US of A?
  • My girlfriend says it's actually:

    ni3 you3 yi1 mei4 er3

    Yes, aparently chinese for 'e-mail' is actually 'yi1-mei4er3'. (sort of like the chinese word for "coffee"... or the english word "tofu" for that matter.) And actually, she says the initial "ni3" is unnecessary; "you3 yi1 mei4 er3" would be fine.
  • by astrashe ( 7452 ) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @01:53PM (#196578) Journal
    The article didn't say so, but I have to believe that AOL will help the Chineese government restrict the flow of information to the people. They simply wouldn't be allowed to operate otherwise. It was interesting to note that the local company keeps 52% vs. AOL's 48%.

    There's no way to sugar coat this. These guys are selling their enginnering muscle to China in the service of repression. They're doing something immoral because it's profitable.

    As bad as that is -- and it's bad enough all by itself -- we have to deal with the fact that AOL is the preemininent member of the oligopoly that will control access to information in the US. In other words, a company that's establishing a track record of selling out civil liberties for money is in the driver's seat.

    Murdoch's News Corp has pulled punches in its publishing houses and other media outlets in order to get Chineese deals. Will AOL/Time Warner follow suit? If they do, will it be any worse, or even as bad, as providing the technical infrastructure to censort the net?

    Think about that when you watch CNN or read Time Magazine. If you still read or watch them, that is.
  • How do you say 'You've Got Mail' in Mandarin?"

    "Someone set us up the mail."

    God, I kill me. But seriously, it probably ought to say, "You've got mail, and you will be allowed to read it as soon as it has been reviewed by the thought police." Which raises the question of whether American AOL employees will be collaborating with the Chinese secret police.


  • Chinese for you've got mail would probably be
    sloganized to you3you2, which sounds like the
    toy. Colloquial Chinese frequently drops the
    subject pronoun like Spanish. They like to construct
    buzzwords selected from the most significant
    syllable from each word.
  • Yes, if you switch to Big-5 encoding.

    In my quest to decode this, I found this website [chinalanguage.com] to be helpful.

  • This may be one of the reasons they put meoney in Netscape / Mozilla. Lots of computers in China run Linux. Doesn't the Chinese government run Linux only?
  • <p>I think it should be:
    nin2 shou4 dao4 dian4zi3 you2jian4</p>

    <p>More Chinese-y than "email"</p>

  • I think "de2" is more appropriate for something that you've actually gone out and actively obtained. For something like passively receiving mail "shou4 dao4" might be better.

    This is what happens when you've been translating classical Chinese philosophy and read /. to take a break.
  • "The Censor Approved Your Mail!"
  • by Baloo Ursidae ( 29355 ) <dead@address.com> on Saturday May 26, 2001 @11:46AM (#196586) Journal
    On behalf of the United States, I apologize to the rest of the world for AOL...


  • So do you guys make a distinction between "zhongguoren" and "hanren?"

  • by marcsiry ( 38594 ) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @11:04AM (#196588) Homepage
    Now they can email our EP-3 back to us!

    "Downloading segment 13 of 64,842 parts...."
  • So they may become known as the "Red ISP", yet will still bear the name "America"?
  • They won't use "You've got mail!". They'll play a digital sample of the secret police kicking down a front door. Urgent mail will be indicated by the sound of an AK-47 putting a bullet into the back of a shoplifter's head. Chinese people will be less startled by that.
  • China already thinks the worst of us without sending over the worst possible thing to happen to technology since windows. If you ask me AOL/Timewarner is a bigger threat than microsoft could ever be. Talk about underhanded warfare.
  • I'd settle for an apology about Microsoft...

  • There's always one. Is there a second though (apart from me)?
  • "ni3 you3 e-mail"

    or something like that.

    (couldn't resist fp)

  • Yeah, very few people I talk to say "dianzi youjian" -- it's just too clunky. Not to many people say "yimei" either -- mainly because people who get email tend to be educated enough to have some English skills, and can say "e-mail" (or some l-ish sounding ending). Maybe it's just me filling in that last sound or something.

    It's also interesting how people say "ni you ta de email ma?" -- making email mean "email address". I guess this happens to some extent in English as well ("do you have my email?") but it doesn't seem as natural.

  • I think oftentimes "america" and "american" are brand names -- and things from foreign countries have a special cachet or appeal.
    This might not fit for self-righteous EU folks, but I've seen a lot of things advertised as American in China -- i.e.
    "American Taste" (on a type of bread)
    "California Beef Noodles" (too bad CA doesn't export beef noodles)
    "Texas/Kentucky Fried Chicken" (the non KFC stuff doesn't really look like KFC, but the name sells)

    Especially with something as "American" as online access (OK, it's not American, but Silicon Valley, Cerf, Metcalf, MIT, Berkeley, etc. (even that linux guy lives here)) -- wouldn't American be an appealing brand name?

    re: anti-American sentiment
    I think it's pretty complex -- the difference between feelings towards America (the US of A government), US citizens, US corporations, and US culture/sports are many. EP-3 is not the sum of sino-us relations on a personal scale.

  • Just what the world needs: a billion more AOL newbies. At least their English will be better than the ones we've got now.
  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @01:13PM (#196598)
    Bored people in China can build a life-size Great Wall made out of AOL disks.
  • I think at this point in time, the initials AOL are more popularly known than the full name, America On Line, so I think the 'America' isn't that much of a concern. Sort of like IBM or KFC. Does any average person call those companies by their full names, anymore, or can even recall what they mean, off the top of their heads?
  • Wow, that situation could have some wonderfully funny situations...
  • Guys, read this. It's on topic, it's funny (which is very rare with AYB jokes now). Please mod it as so.
  • I'm sure they will do [slashdot.org] whatever [slashdot.org] they do [slashdot.org] in Austrailia [slashdot.org]
  • This must be a part of the new military strategy Bush is pushing forward in USA.
  • As others have mentioned, AOL is not a good name in China since it has 'America' in it (what with the spy plane and all).

    Therefore I propose (to all you AOL corporate drones lurking on /.) launching a subsidiary of AOL with the name COOL: China and the Orient On-Line.

    Thank you (bows to the applause)...
  • The article says:
    With over 22 million people online in China and the Chinese language quickly approaching a majority on the Internet, Legend makes a powerful partner for AOL. Legend is the top distributor of new PCs in the Asia Pacific region, paving the way for wide adoption of joint services via inclusion of AOL software. FM365.com also provides significant reach for AOL, peaking at 25 million daily page views.

    Is this true? A Majority? Like more than 50%? Cause that's just not true (is it?).
    Anyone have stats and a link to follow about it?
  • Can you say "no freedom of speech" in Mandarin? No? That's fine, I'm sure the fascist government will be more than happy to translate it into English for you.
  • "Welcome! The government's got your mail!"
    ------------------------------------------ --------
  • Please, someone explain America On-Line: France [www.aol.fr], Austrailia [aol.com.au], Germany [www.aol.de], UK [aol.co.uk], and all of their other world ventures. I dunno, I think it'd be a little weird for me to sign up for Germany On-Line or something, so why doesn't it bother all of AOL's foreign customers?

    Then again, everyone here in the US goes gaga for anything with a French name..

  • First time a server crashes, though, they'll hold it for questioning -- claiming it violated Chinese airspace -- and demand that AOL apologize. ;-)
  • by clyons ( 126664 )
    Why WOL? Why not change to to something like SOL? It's far more descriptive of their services and infastructure.


  • I think oftentimes "america" and "american" are brand names -- and things from foreign countries have a special cachet or appeal.

    From long observation I have determined that `American' as a qualifier means `with much more sugar and far less of the real ingreedients'.

    So AOL is conforming to brand values.

  • It's clearly an OPEC plot. Making enough AOL CDs to give the population of China the same share as the rest of us will eat the entire world production of petrolium for a year.
  • Do the poor chinese government know what they are getting into?
  • Why don't they just go ahead and change the name to something like "Earth Online" or "World" online. Or start up equivalents of similar names around the world, like "Europe Online" and "Russia Online"... EOL and ROL. There we go!
  • Why dont they just change their name to World Online. That's what they're doing. It's not just America anymore, and besides, why defame our country's beautiful name with all of their bullshit.

  • Ditto for Australia.

  • I'd settle for an apology.

  • "So easy to filter no wonder its number one, in China"

  • P.S. That's "Chineseians". You need to study up more on the proper names for foreign peoples

    What the hell? I've been chinese for quite a while. And lived both in Taiwan and the US and I've never heard that term before.

    We usualy call Mainlanders "Commie Bastards" (j/k). But when speaking english we usualy refer to the whole of Han people as "Chinese".

    Rate me [picture-rate.com] on picture-rate.com
  • yes we do. But it's somewhat, uh, 'complex' ^__^. Involving both historic and modern history...

    Rate me [picture-rate.com] on picture-rate.com
  • Are they going to change their name? America OnLine isn't as good anymore that it's international, extending into nations that used (still might) hate us.

    Tell me what makes you so afraid
    Of all those people you say you hate

  • I wondered about that myself. As AOL becomes more global, it might want to distance itself from the America in America On Line. After the recent incident with the spy plane, I can't see a great demand for something their with America in the name. I personally think AOL should at least consider changing the name. Phone companies do it all the time with mergers etc. Who knows.. maybe it will help improve their reputation after a while too.
  • hopefully you can say it with better grammar than the english version.
  • you got mail... you want fried rice with that?
  • Now AOL can censor things without having to think up some sort of politically correct excuse for doing it. It's the law over there.

  • Aside from pirated copies of windows, the favorite OS in China, endorsed [slashdot.org] by the government is Linux [slashdot.org] (see these other stories [slashdot.org] on Slash).

    This brings us to the vision of AOL for Linux.

    It also probably becomes the basis for the AOL Desktop and Office Suite for Linux, all in Chinese.

    AOL could wind up being the biggest provider of systems and software on the planet.

    If the Chinese do not declare war on the US over the insidious infiltration of the MS into chinese culture in the first place.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • Since Aol means America Online, does that mean that AOL will make another company named COL(China Online) ?
  • Linux has to get a lot better at handling the Chinese character set and input methods before that happens... unless I'm missing something... I've been able to get characters to display in my browsers, and even somewhat in everybuddy. I had marginal success with using MULE in Emacs, but it can be a pain to setup.
  • My comments were not racist. I have been studying Chinese for 4 years and I was offering my attempt at translation. I don't speak it very well, but I do try. I am the last person you wish to be accusing of racism towards Chinese people. My recommendation to you is to become informed on the language yourself before you begin crying racism. If you had an inkling of how the language is spoken, you would know that my comments were in no way racist and perhaps you could add to the conversation.
  • I've heard "yi1 mei4" mentioned before... I think the "er3" might be an extra sound added by some accents. (People from Tianjin tend to add this to alot of words.. but if you travel to Beijing, they tend to leave it off.)

    I don't know about leaving "ni3" off the beginning though... I said something to my girlfriend this morning and I left off the subject at the beginning and she just started laughing at me... it would've been perfectly fine in English though. =)

    Thanks for posting though!
  • by mizhi ( 186984 ) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @12:58PM (#196631)
    Eh, well, if anyone's interested in the actual translations of "You've got mail!", I'll give it a shot... those of you more fluent than I am, post corrections because I actually am interested in a mandarin translation that doesn't involve innuendoes of censorship. =)

    1) ni3 you3 xin4 jian4. (this is for traditional postal mail)

    2) ni3 you3 dian4 zi3 han2 jian4. (literal translation of email... but I've only heard my girlfriend and her family use "e-mail"...we call it Chinglish)

    so... I guess another way to say it would be
    3) ni3 you3 e-mail. =)

  • by zoftie ( 195518 )
    This is the first largest move on behalf of corporate america to convert largest contry of intelligent individuals into vast Army Of L4M3RZ.
    Go corporate america go...
  • You've received mail that has just been read. Thank-you.
  • by empesey ( 207806 ) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @01:42PM (#196634) Homepage
    Let's tell China that AOL is a giant spy machine. Maybe they'll keep it.

    ...and these circular discs are held up to the sun, for flashing Morse code messages to our sattelites.
  • Dear [censored],

    I hope everything is well in the city of [censored] square : are the [censored] still [censored] while [censored] [censored] for freedom ?
    Here in the United [censored], we are deeply [censored] about those who remained back [censored].

    Oh, by the way, it's your father's birthday. Don't forget to give him a call on Sunday. Our number on holiday is [censored].

    Truly yours,

    ----- Thanks for not having the choice to choose AOLChina -----

    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" - Ogden Nash

  • In my opinion, restricting the rooms to 22 users greatly increases the quality of the conversations. Have you ever tried to follow conversations in IRC rooms with 200 or 300 users? I don't know how people do it. I mean, if there aren't 20 people having 20 seperate conversations all in the same room, then it's 200 people not saying a damned word (which is why AOL is nice...if you're going to enter a chat room and then go to sonic..you're going to get booted).

    -- juju
  • Well, I guess they can do that now since World Online has changed their name to Tiscali or something like that. :-)
    Could be fun to watch the DNS confusion. :-)
  • thanks :-)
  • I live in China, and I have just talked to AOL, which ensures me that they will not censor or monitor anything.
    I have always thought the goverment was a bunch of GOOD GUYES who wants AL THE BESTH the people. I have always had the impression that they DID NOT monitor my websurfing and emails. But I guess I was RIGT.
  • It would on IRC, but not on AOL. You ever seen a log of an AOL chat room? Just like offical Napster chat rooms, only with twice the precentage of idiots. AOL allows a lot of people on the internet that SHOULD NOT be. I'm don't mean computer newbies either, I mean people WITH NO COMMON SENSE. People that will run that cool new 'screensaver' that e1ee7h4x0r69 just sent them even though they don't have a virus scanner, people that will give thier credit card info to http://aolbilling.somerandomfreeredirector.com/, and people that will do anything to thier computer that you tell them to. These people should not be allowed on the internet or AOL, FOR THIER OWN PROTECTION. The internet is a hazordous place, and anyone who can't protect themselves need to either learn or get off. ISPs should at least make an effort to give customers at least a basic lesson in internet safety.

  • Looks like somebody just got a monopoly on internet censorship. =)
  • Can you read that? That's the answer to the question.
  • The name isn't that big of a deal. here in Canada its called AOL Canada, and nobody seems to care
  • You would think that AOL would have learned english by now and dumped "You've Got Mail"

    I cringe every time I hear that stupid hick-grammar phrase. I guess with stupid users, they need to maintain their image.

    It's as bad as the Pennsylvania license plates that read "You've got a friend in Pennsylvania" At least Pennsylvania was smart enough to fix its mistake and change the licenses to read "The Keystone State." Of course, now they toss "http://www.state.pa.us/" on them. Ugh.

  • This raises an interesting question. Is AOL going to handle internet filtering which was mandated by the chinese government? The filtering practices in China were discussed many times here before, Here [slashdot.org], and Here [slashdot.org]. Will AOL move to provide the filtering services or will they become a mouthpiece for progressive thought on the issue. I think we all know the answer to that one, but it'll certainly be interesting to watch it take shape.


  • And, so, in an un-surprising move, AOL continues it's quest for global domination.
  • AOL + China is like Stupid + Evil. I really, really pity the poor guys and gals who are going to use this service. I have no doubt AOL will whore its filtering technology to help China oppress its people (the same way AOL oppresses OUR people). And it's clear China is willing to whore its anti-American stance for money. Ah, what a wonderful world.

    If you were right more often I wouldn't have voted against you, Dubya. =P


    P.S. That's "Chineseians". You need to study up more on the proper names for foreign peoples.
  • I still think all the translations I've seen are too difficult. Ni2 You3 Xin4! seems to fit really well - even the same inflection as AOL's current You've got mail! If you really wanted to be explicit it could be: Ni2 You3 Dian4 Xin4! Ni2 = You've You3 = have/got Xin4 = mail (Dian4) = all things to do with electricity, including lighting and electricity. :) Cool Trivia = Dian4 Nao3 is Electric Brain or computer!!
  • I wonder who they will get to translate for them, it wouldn't be very good to have all kinds of errors ("all you AOL belong to us") Because some American translated it.
  • I think it's: Ni you feng xin.
  • Yeah i'm sure this will go over reeeeal well. There are chinese hackers defacing american websites just because they're so pissed at us (for whatever reason), and I don't think that the general chinese opinion of american culture is very high. THUS, i don't really understand how a company called frigging AMERICA online is going to have luck in CHINA.
  • nope, your just a fuckwit
  • I watched a documentary on Discovery yesterday, it was about chairman Mao and his revolution.

    Now, what did you say about brainwashed americans?

  • and break AOL apart if you want it back.
  • I'm sure it isn't (there was an article about this in the Economist, www.economist.co.uk, a few weeks back) approaching a majority in a linear sense; what they mean is that if it keeps doubling at the same rate (like, 4 months, as I recall) it'll be a majority pretty quickly. So, it's approacing a majority at an exponential rate. You could view this as "quickly approaching" a majority if you squint hard enough.

  • "American bandwith in Chineese net space... I will not apologise, send me back my plane!"
  • by Ayende Rahien ( 309542 ) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @11:20AM (#196658)
    I hear they are considerring the following options:

    1. You've got mail, which was forwarded to the nearest censors. The email, or the police, would reach you within 24 to 48 hours. Please wait.
    2. You've got mail, it was censored.
    3. You've got mail, traitor!
    4. You've got mail, and 15 years in jail.
    5. You've got mail, and will be able to read it for a small bribe.
  • Why? Because it means that if many chinese use the service, the government knows exactly what people can see

    Hey doesn't that also describe American government and FBI's Carnivore system? With all the anti-China sentiment around here and all the finger-pointing its easy to forget about it.

  • You have happy fun offer!

  • You got special offer. Not typical offer like other one.
  • lol! you've got a good point there. it would be better if it were a local chinese company instead of the constant globalisation machine of AOL.
  • by Richthofen80 ( 412488 ) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @11:44AM (#196663) Homepage
    I think most people are missing what could be the case. The truth is, AOL is not internet access. It provides some methods of getting to some internet material, but AOL is simply it's own network.

    China's government will LOVE this. Why? Because it means that if many chinese use the service, the government knows exactly what people can see, by virtue of what AOL allows its users to do, not by tracking individuals specifically. It has never been about specific people seeing anti-chinese stuff, it has always been about a lot of people having access to that stuff. And China will be able to tailor, through tax / other incentives to AOL, the online experience for the Chinese. I'm sure AOL has been blocking sites on the net for years.

    If anyone has ever read "Code and other laws of Cyberspace" you'd know why AOL is perfect for keeping social dissedents out of line: it's chatrooms only allow 22 users, and they have terms of service which are malleable. No one can organize a riot or view anti-chinese sentiment on a completely crafted network.

    What might bother me is that a lot of people view "online" or "internet" as being just AOL. Someone should publish a pamphlet and offer it to give a basic overview of what the internet is so that computer purchasers know the difference between an ISP and a closed network with WWW access.

    Personally, I think now's the time to dump my stock in "chineseschoolgirls.com"

  • Oh, sure, America Online in China. We really want them to hate us, huh?
  • ...educated enough to have some English skills, and can say "e-mail" (or some l-ish sounding ending).

    Yeah. "emailo". That was a pretty common ending I'd hear in Hong Kong. Of course that's Cantonese, but I had some friends from Singapore and Taiwan and they said the same thing in Mandarin. Then again the Singaporeans tend to like to throw a "lah" sound at the end of sentences, so maybe they'd adopt emai-lahhhhh.


  • Also: World Online already exists. Is Dutch ISP.
  • The difference is that if you happened not to believe "the media", you will be able to voice your doubts and not face firing squad.
    A huge difference , if you ask me.
  • Again, the difference is that your ass won't be executed for bitching about Bush or anyone else you happened not to like.
    You might be arrested for plotting to kill somebody but that is fine with me.

  • They really love those IM logs for one thing.

    In the US they sniff for keywords like drugs, bombs, and other interesting flag words. I wonder what flag words the Chinese will look for -- freedom, rights, sex...

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell