Western companies that are investing in web 2.0 pioneers in China beware: there are risks, according to Paul Verna, senior analyst at U.S.-based internet market research firm eMarketer. By 2011, the number of Internet users in China is expected to grow to 246 million, up from 134 million in 2006, eMarketer predicts. Verna says, “On the flip side, the potential pitfalls of investing in Chinese Web 2.0 start-ups should not be overlooked. The spectre of government censorship remains a major barrier for small companies that are forced to invest staff resources to policing their own content, lest they risk being shut down by government authorities. And larger U.S. firms such as Yahoo!, Amazon, Google and eBay have hit roadblocks in their efforts to extend their empires in the most populous country on earth.” Verna concludes on an optimistic note, “The tide may be turning, and the prospect of capitalizing on the business potential of the Chinese market in the Web 2.0 era seems more and more tantalizing.”