The W3C is announcing a partnership with China’s Beihang University that will see it host the standards-making body’s activities in the country and promote collaboration with Chinese tech companies, web developers, and research institutes. Beihang joins MIT, France’s ERCIM, and Japan’s Keio University as the W3C’s fourth host institution, providing a base of operations at a top engineering university in the world’s most quickly-expanding internet market.

"Sony's a good example of a company we've built a good working relationship with."

Similarly to the W3C’s operations in Japan, the Beihang hostship is expected to provide an avenue for participation in web standards by companies that might otherwise not be interested, or not know how to go about it. "Sony’s a good example of a company we’ve built a good working relationship with through the Keio host," says the W3C’s Tokyo-based HTML Activity Lead, Michael Smith. Sony has played a significant role in HTML5 video specifications like Encrypted Media Extensions, which relates to content protection for streaming video, as well as Media Source Extensions, which has to do with adaptive streaming of video. Japan’s TV broadcasters like NHK are likewise involved in W3C work through the Keio University host.

Meanwhile, in China, Huawei is already playing an active role in standards development, including work on HTML5. Smith tells us he expects the Beihang host to help develop similar relationships as companies start bringing their use cases in to the W3C’s working groups for discussion. That’s not to mention the outside hope that a constant presence at Beihang glorifying the open web could have some kind of ripple effect on the country’s strict approach to online censorship.