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China warns West over Net interference

Outside investors not welcome and will be stamped out

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Investors looking to cash in on the Net revolution in China may have to think twice after Beijing warned it wouldn't tolerate foreign companies exploiting its online development. According to information industry minister Wu Jichuan, investment in the Internet by foreign companies is illegal under Chinese law. He described those companies which have already invested in China's fledgling Net industry as "irregularities". And, according to a report in the FT, he said China is more than happy to iron out these "irregularities" and stamp out any foreign intervention. Despite a number of investments -- most notably China.com, which is part funded by AOL, and the $50 million investment by Lycos and Singapore Telecommunications -- it may not be quite that simple for Beijing to act. Many of the services are located outside of China and fall outside its jurisdiction making it difficult for it to intervene. The number of Net users in China has more than doubled over the last year from 2.1 million to five million. ® For more money news tune into Cash Register and turn on to our daily Net Finance News

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