The move comes after MySpace launched a Spanish edition of its site earlier this week. The move to China, however, has been much more deliberate, because of the huge stakes involved. China is now the second largest Internet market, and is on track to become the largest in a few years.
Other U.S. players, from Google, Yahoo, Amazon and eBay have stumbled there, facing obstacles such as cultural misunderstandings, tough competition from wily Chinese entrepreneurs, and complex censorship and regulatory issues.
MySpace’s owner, News Corp. has deliberated for at least six months about how to launch in China. Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp., and wife Wendi Deng, smartly decided (see our previous coverage) to license the operations to a separate locally run company. Based in Beijing, it will be called MySpace China. The New York Times’ David Barboza offers good coverage of the deal.
In the meantime, China’s home-grown competition has only grown. Baidu, Tencent, Sina.com, 51.com and multiple others are all gunning for this market.
As reported earlier, News Corp has allied with IDG VC, the Chinese arm of a network of venture operations run by Boston-based International Data Group, and a very early investor in Chinese Internet companies. Another partner is China Broadband Capital Partners. China Broadband Capital is run by Edward Tian, a former chief executive of China Netcom Group. Barboza says the funding by these three is as much as $100 million; VentureBeat hasn’t confirmed this.
The investment troika has hired Luo Chuan, a former senior executive at Microsoft in China, as chief executive. Luo, 38, previously ran Microsoft’s MSN Portal in China.