According to Liu Yuzhou, an official with the Ministry of Culture, speaking recently at the First China International Exposition on Online Culture being held in Beijing, the majority of local Internet cafes, currently exceeding 110,000 in the country, will be put under the management of large chain store companies within three years, as part of efforts by the government to rein in the fledgling and troublesome business.

After the events of June 2002, when individuals set fire to a local Internet cafe, killing 25 and injuring 13, triggering a crackdown on unlicensed operations, the number of Internet shops dropped from 200,000 to 110,000. Less than 100 chain store operators will be set up in the future, to help regulate and standardize the sector, although not all the cafes will be chains.


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