It's old news that China's Great Firewall filters out much of the information that is available to the rest of the world on the internet. Media giants like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube cannot be found on China's internet. Most of the news sources Westerners use for their window to the world are also blocked.
Pushing China’s internet
But what has not been realized is how China seems intent on spreading its version of the internet across the planet. China's Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to intertwine the economies of China with most of the rest of Asia and Europe, impacts about 60 countries. The catch is that "Beijing has become more assertive in pushing for the adoption of Chinese tech standards in countries that want Chinese investment and technology" (GZeroMedia.com)
Enhancing China’s internet
But beyond economic pressure to adopt China's restrictive internet system, there are growing technological advances. Intellibriefs reports, "As China develops its own standards in different fields, it will continue to create an alternative digital world. Today, for example, the BBC asks: 'China has ambitions for its rapidly expanding Beidou satellite navigation system to serve the whole world, not just Asia, but will it really be able to rival the well-established — and US-owned — GPS system?' The answer seems to be 'maybe,' with caveats such as this: 'It's one thing to get it working, it's another to keep it working consistently and create trust among users.' But there’s no question that China will get Beidou working consistently, and then Chinese mobile phones may cease using GPS technology altogether."
China's race to master 5G technology may also attract regional customers. The LowDownBlog quotes Wall Street Journal reporter Josh Chin, "The collision of these universes as 5G arrives is exacerbating conflict between the U.S. and China and could broaden the rift and drive more of the world into China’s cyberspace model. Networks using 5G technology are expected to download movies on phones in seconds, help enable self-driving cars, and connect components ranging from pacemakers to factory machines to the internet. Military futurists say 5G may alter battlefields, connecting tanks and drones with artificial intelligence.”