Yesterday, I wrote about how 12306, China’s government-run train ticket e-commerce platform, had just blocked all of the third-party browsers optimized by Chinese companies for buying tickets on the slow and often inconvenient-to-use site. But it seems Sogou isn’t taking that news lying down. Yesterday it launched the latest version of its ticket-buying browser, which it’s calling Zeus’s Shield; a version that circumvent’s the government blocks and allows users to buy tickets normally.
Clearly, the 12306 vs. third-party browsers battle is turning into a one-upping arms race, with each side scrambling to counter whenever the other side makes a move. As an advocate of consumers (and an advocate of well-designed, functional websites), I’m cheering for the third-party companies here, and I hope that the rest of them will follow in Sogou’s lead. As I pointed out yesterday, the ticket-buying season for China’s upcoming National Day break starts right now, so making things inconvenient for travelers right now is an especially obnoxious move on the part of the government.