China Takes Aim at Internet Phone Services to Protect State-Owned Telephone Companies

Protecting state-owned bodies, especially high-profile entities in any particular market, is a high priority for China. That's why it's not surprising to see that China has declared a warning on Thursday to VoIP providers like Skype. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has made a bold statement, saying plainly that they will seek out "illegal Internet phone services." However, the Ministry did not clarify as to which ones, exactly, they would be targeting.

China may be looking to completely shut out services like Skype, as well as the other, smaller companies offering the same features. Additionally, this could mean that Google's Google Voice may not be able to find a way into China, either. Officials in the Chinese government have argued in the past that only government-backed have any right to to effectively connect Internet to the phone networks they use.

With China's 450 million Internet users, it would make sense that the government would want to create tighter restrictions, and perhaps even outline which services Internet users can use, while forcing out others. According to Kan Kaili the Director of China VoIP & Digital Telecom Inc., China's government "is actually protecting the telecoms' traditional voice services," by releasing the notice. He goes on to add that it is "obviously a wrong thing, absolutely wrong." If China does go through with this, then it would seem that many of the hundreds of smaller companies offering VoIP services would be forced to stop.

[via Yahoo! News]