Maxthon: China's hip browser

by admin June 22, 2006 at 8:09 am

Web surfers in China frustrated by censorship in search engines are increasingly turning to a little-known Internet browser with a big following in the Middle Kingdom.

Maxthon, a browser made by a tiny Beijing company of the same name, has attracted millions of users in China for functionality that can funnel traffic through a Web proxy and circumvent government controls on information in search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, and other popular sites or Internet service providers in that country.

From China, the browser has caught on in Europe, and now somewhat in the United States thanks to an appearance with Microsoft at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year–though it’s still largely unknown stateside. So far, about 60 million people have downloaded the browser since its launch in 2003. According to Maxthon research, about 14 percent of the Chinese Web population has used the browser and 17 percent employs it for Web search.

“It’s exploding there,” said Netanel Jacobsson, a Maxthon senior vice president and partner who’s based in Israel.

Of course, Maxthon does not promote the proxy feature openly–it’s merely a shortcut that has spread virally among Chinese Web surfers. People who download the browser must be fairly technically savvy to activate it, but according to Jacobsson, various bulletin boards in Chinese instruct people how to do it.

Full story: ZDNet