China has embraced MP3. The first government-approved MP3 download site will go live in two months.
The site will provide the country's 1.2 billion population with an opportunity to upload their own tracks for global distribution. At the same time, it will allow the Chinese government to control and monitor musical content posted on the Internet while promoting and developing the country's music industry.
Although artists will be able to design and build their own micro-sites, as well as upload their own music and graphics, the Chinese Ministry of Culture will have to approve every track posted.
"An MP3 site is the ideal way for China to start promoting its artists worldwide," says Harry White, chief executive of Houston InterWeb, which is partnering the government in the venture. "There are over 21 million Chinese-speaking Internet users who reside outside China, and they have had limited access to Chinese music. Our site will change all this."
China currently has around 10 million Internet users. A recent report from the Yankee Group predicted that Asian Internet use would reach 374 million by 2005.
Take me to the MP3 special.