GitHub or officially land in China! GitHub, the world’s largest software development platform, plans to open a branch office in China,media reported. Earlier, GitHub issued a public outcry by banning “Us-sanctioned” national accounts. GitHub, the world’s largest software development platform, plans to open a subsidiary in China, according to the Financial Times.
Editor/Zhang Jia, Xiaoqin, Daming
Source: Xin Zhiyuan
Erica Brescia, GitHub’s chief operating officer, said in an interview with the Financial Times that China was “very encouraging” about the company’s plans to expand in China.
What exactly will GitHub go into China?
Strictly speaking, Outside the programmer’s circle, GitHub is still a household name among the general public. The U.S. company is the world’s largest repository of open source software, providing a critical digital infrastructure, and many of the world’s multibillion-dollar software businesses rely on GitHub infrastructure.
In 2018, Microsoft bought the company for $7.5 billion. Satya NaDELLa, Microsoft’s CEO, said at the time that digital technology was now spread across society and the economy, and that software developers were architects of digital technology. GitHub is the “developer’s home.”
Now, more developers from China may soon find a more comfortable home at GitHub. According to The Economist, GitHub’s march in China has not yet been officially announced, and it is still in its early stages. But Erica Brescia, GitHub’s chief operating officer, has been in China several times in recent months to visit chinese developers.
In mid-September, she hosted GitHub’s first event in China in Shanghai. On December 2nd she co-hosted another meeting with developers in Shenzhen. On December 4th, a similar event was co-hosted in Beijing.
Sheng Wu, a developer from Beijing who attended the event, said GitHub discussed the possibility of publicly expanding its China business. One GitHub employee, who asked not to be named, said GitHub Enterprise, a for-profit product for large companies, had recently passed the “GB18030” China National Standard Certification, a prerequisite for service in China. Microsoft has yet to release GitHub’s financial information, but China has become the second most important market after GitHub in terms of the number of developers, and is growing rapidly.
Previously, there had been two speculations about GitHub’s move into China. One possibility is to place servers closer to Chinese developers, perhaps in Hong Kong or Singapore. Chinese developers welcomed the move, as scattered access to GitHub was often plagued by complaints about server response speed. The latest location for GitHub servers is not yet public, but in 2017, all servers will be in the U.S., with slow and unreliable connections to China.
A more radical option would be to set up a new company under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government. This would allow GitHub to set up servers in mainland China, but could raise questions about how GitHub manages computer code databases in China and the U.S. jurisdictions.
According to the Financial Times, Brescia said GitHub was planning a “phased approach”, starting with a “phased approach” to starting with a wholly foreign-owned subsidiary in China and hiring staff from its general manager. After that, the company may explore the possibility of establishing a joint venture in China and hosting GitHub content.
GitHub is subject to export controls, blocking “U.S.-sanctioned” country accounts
Bao Yungang, director of the Center for Advanced Computer Systems Research at the Institute of Computing of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and secretary-general of the China Open Command Ecology (RISC-V) Alliance, said in the interpretation of the “Open Source Project Risk Analysis and Countermeasure Recommendations” report: GitHub.com explicitly states That GitHub.com, GitHub Enterprise Server, and both of the information are export-controlled.
In July, GitHub began restricting accounts on a national basis, citing violations of U.S. trade control laws. The nationalities of the restricted account holders include Countries “sanctioned by the United States” such as Russia, Iran, Syria and Cuba.
An Iranian developer also posted on Reddit asking for help, saying That GitHub is now banning Iranian users, that all Iranian accounts have been blocked and that users are asking for support.
Chinese developers worry that if the U.S. extends export sanctions against China, they may not be able to access GitHub. GitHub has said it will lobby U.S. regulators to block the expansion of export controls.
Brescia said the chinese government wants domestic developers to use more open source software to guard against the risk of being out-of-supply by U.S.-developed software at a time of continuing trade tensions. Because open source software is open and free, it is not subject to U.S. sanctions.
Without GitHub, Chinese companies would not be able to access the code for open source software, which could lead to aging programs that can make it difficult to upgrade.
Some open source software is critical to the Internet; for example, Apache’s open source web server software is used by one-third of the world’s websites and is supported by an American foundation.
“What (government departments) tell us is that they think open source is a good way to build on other people’s innovations, but obviously open source is more of a sense of security because it’s not subject to any trade restrictions in the U.S.,” Brescia said.
“I think China as a whole has been making a strategic push around open source because it provides a way to connect with other parts of the software development world without relying on proprietary technology,” she said. She added that GitHub had met with officials from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Public Security.
While platforms of other foreign technology companies may be blocked from Chinese users, GitHub can still be accessed. China is also working to develop its own open source projects. Earlier this year, Huawei announced it would join forces with the government and other domestic tech giants to set up a foundation to stimulate open source software development in china.
“If China doesn’t have its own open source community to maintain the code, then the entire Chinese software industry will be at great risk,” Wang Chenglu, president of Huawei’s CBG software division, told the company’s developer conference. “
80% of the 40 million developers are from outside the United States, and open source use in China is second only to the United States
How important is China to GitHub?
According to GitHub’s 2019 annual report released last month, GitHub now has more than 40 million developer users worldwide, 80 percent of them outside the United States.
Over the past year, 10 million new developers have joined the GitHub community, contributing to 44 million open source projects worldwide.
This year, China is the most open source-using country after the United States. Among them, Chinese developers fork and clone projects increased by 48% compared to last year.
Open source use Top 20 region (except U.S.)
The largest increase in the number of open source project contributors was in Hong Kong, China. In addition to open source, the developer community in Asia is growing rapidly in 2019 in terms of public and private contributions. Of these, 31% of Asian contributors came from China. Since 2014, the number of developers outside the United States has been on the rise, and the Asian contributor community has grown faster than Europe and North America.
Number of contributors on all continents
Chinese developers are an integral part of GitHub, but given the current tensions, who can guarantee that GitHub will not be pressured to restrict Chinese accounts in the future? In this way, GitHub’s move into China would be good for both sides. What do you think?