Jacob Redding, John Zhu, and Scales ran this session. I've known Scales for about a year and a half and was pretty amazed (but not surprised) when he announced that he was moving to China. The three of them talked about China, the Drupal project, and why the Open Source community makes so much sense in the Chinese environment.
There is a curious problem with licensing in China. Licenses for software (like Windows for example) are often ignored. There is a brisk trade in illegal copies making it nearly impossible to sell people legitimate licenses. The GPL is perfect in this circumstance. You can't pirate something that is free to be downloaded. Some of this is due to language. The Chinese tend to create a duplicate of many kinds of services--like a Chinese clone of YouTube. There is even a fork of PHP written in Chinese. But Drupal's internationalization makes this kind of duplication meaningless. You don't have to recreate the system from scratch. There is no need to fork and there is no need to pirate.
The 1.3 Billion Person Myth
Sometimes the concept of a 1.3 billion person market, ready to be tapped, makes it into presentations and conversations. This is largely a myth due to the fact only roughly 260 million people have Internet access which shrinks the market to about the size of the US or Western Europe.
Education is a big deal in China. In 2006, 9.5 million young people applied for 2.6 million places in Universities. Under-employment for these young graduates is high. However, there is a government supported initiative. They want to quadruple the number of employed graduates by 2010.
Attracting High Tech and the "Coming Out" Party
China is trying to attract the high-tech by building big tech parks millions of square metres each year. They are enticing high tech firms by offering lower prices and lower wages for skilled employees. Add the upcoming Olympics and World's Fair--China is coming out into the world community.
Growing Drupal in China
Meetups and camps are occurring in chinese and english. Drupalchina.org is providing a translation of the Drupal project site and attempts to help connect China to the rest of the community. Now the curious thing here is that most of the world develops Open Source Software (OSS) in English. But, as mentioned before, China is likely to translate and develop it in Chinese.
There is huge user growth in Drupal in China, however it is a challenge. In Chinese culture you are given a task, you complete that task. There is very little discussion. In the schools there are trying to build communities and empower folks. But the Chinese ethic falls in the face of the way Open Source normally works. This means that it is common for Chinese users to create CMSes from the ground up. Raincity is trying to figure out how to capture those minds.
There is a strong interest and there is a desire, amongst recent graduates, that are looking for guidance. Lots of segregated users who are creating CMSes from the ground up. How do we capture these minds.
Working with Chinese Developers
Linux, Open Office, Firefox, and Joomla! are all being used in China. However, there are cultural differences between China's working style and the North America/Western European style of teams. In the West, coding is often considered a hobby as well as a way to make a living. In China, that simply isn't the case. The Chinese tend to be more purposeful and end up working much longer hours in the office than people do in the West. Once they have finished work, they leave it there. Which is exacerbated by the fact that most Chinese can't afford a computer at home. Interestingly, many folks are willing to come to a Drupalcamp to make use of computers and learn new skills. Scales mentioned that out of a team of twelve, there is one with Internet access at home.