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Baidu launched a service that tells you if a site is blocked in China

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Credit: Baidu/LXR

China’s equivalent of Google, Baidu, is now offering a service that can evaluate whether your website is optimized to be used in China, as reported by Nikkei Asian Review. The new service is aimed at Japanese businesses interested in expanding into China but daunted by the prospect of braving the “Great Firewall.”

Other English-language services like one offered by Comparitech and Great Firewall of China already show which sites are censored, but this service is significant because it’s directly owned by a Chinese company that complies with government internet controls. In addition to telling you if your domain is functional in China, Baidu’s service can also tell you whether parts of your site are loading slowly or failing to display content, something that Comparitech doesn’t currently do. So if a site has an Instagram feed or Google Maps embed, the service can inform businesses where they can update the site to make it more China-friendly.

Anyone can access the free website diagnosis feature to see if a certain domain is down. This sometimes reveals intriguing details. For instance, if you type in Facebook, it tells you that the site is blocked in China, but the Chinese compatible source code is fine. But if you try Google, both the site and the source code are blocked, perhaps because Google pulled out of China in 2010 completely, while Facebook is still attempting a return.

Baidu is offering the service with LXR, a Japanese maker of Chinese-language sites. For $3,090, Baidu and LXR will analyze how your site is doing in China and send you a report, in addition to suggestions for Chinese social media companies like Youku and WeChat to replace YouTube and Messenger.