China Targets ‘Illegal’ Mobile-Optimized Websites

BEIJING—In its ongoing effort to eradicate all vestiges of content deemed “harmful” to its populace, China's Ministry of Public Security has initiated a one-month campaign to target what it calls illegal mobile phone websites.

The campaign, which kicked off September 23, will focus on three areas:

  • Cleaning out illegal mobile phone websites, which includes closing websites that don't have a license, terminating cooperation with websites that spread harmful content, and reporting illegal websites to the police department;
  • Cracking down on the spread of pornography via mobile phone websites;
  • Strengthening the management and supervision of access service providers, network advertisement agents and third-party payment service providers.

Ironically, the campaign to clean up the mobile web begins just as China Unicom, the country's No. 2 mobile carrier, announces its intention to sell Apple's iPhone in China for a retail price of 5,000 yuan ($732.50), starting October 1, the same day the carrier will officially launch of its 3G service.

According to Yahoo! Tech, “The high price tag may force buyers of the popular handsets to sign up for subsidized packages carrying lower handset prices but also longer-term contract commitments, as competition heats up in China's recently reformed telecoms sector.

“China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier, and the country's two smaller carriers are all being pressured by margins as they are in the middle of a three-year $58.5 billion spending spree through 2011 to build their 3G networks.”