Reporting from Zheng Zhou (a fast-growing second-tier city and the capital of the Henan province).
The entrance of one (seemingly disguised as semi-studious?):
The inside of another, filled with the usual crop of teenagers using IM, watching soaps, playing online games, and surfing the web:
And inside the same NetBar, posters of some of the games offered:
5 comments on “Photo Report of NetBars in ZhengZhou”
It looks pretty nice, actually!
We’ve been looking at PRC urban and rural NetBars (or internet bars or wangba) for the last few months. They range from quite fancy (like this one) to pretty ragtag. However, from our findings, all aim for fairly new equipment, certainly much nicer than what we see in many school e-classrooms (especially rural schools).
Curious what you are seeing about how people play games in these spaces. What are the shared activities? When? When is going to a NetBar an individual activity? How do the customers navigate personal, shared, public experiences both on- and off-line?
I sadly didn’t stay long, so I have but one insight to share: I hadn’t expected there to be teenagers spending their Sunday afternoon’s sitting alone in a netbar, smoking a cigarette, legs propped on the chair next to them, watching some sort of tv-drama. Granted, there were way more gamers, but it does suggest that the netbar is a place to spend some individual “idle time”.
E-classroom sidenote: For one of MSRA’s distance education projects we visited a dirt-roads-esque rural school that rented a computer from the nearby netbar for 2 yuan an hour. (However, it may have been a one time deal because they were told beforehand that we’d come with someone from the Tsinghua dist-ed project.)
Still, a funny reversal of tech because this way, the rented computer was much better than the old “Legend” computers at more upscale schools.
In general, the PCs in internet bars are several grades better than what schools get through their government (and other) channels. As far as we can see, students look to internet bars to determine what kind of computer they might want to buy. School PCs are seen as old, slow and for the most part broken.
The PCs in internet bars are also renewed on a regular basis (every 1.7 years on average) whereas schools may hold onto PCs for years. Again, not a plus for the quality of PCs in schools.