MySpace Strategizing the Penetration of Chinese Market – Pulling Murdoch’s Wife on Board
MySpace.com is currently in talks with International Data Group and Edward Tian, the former CEO of China Netcom Group Corporation. Wendi Deng, Rupert Murdoch’s wife is also announce that she is more than likely going to join the Board of MySpace China. This would be her first job related to News Corporation. There are a couple barriers to enter the market with China as the country is known as Internet-restricting (example: Wikipedia was blocked in China for over a year). MySpace clearly does not have the best reputation as of right now as well.
This year MySpace has added a UK, Australian, Irish, German, French and Japanese subsidiary division to the social network conglomerate’s line of services. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Over the summer, a Chinese government agency announced it was considering regulations against Web sites that broadcast short films without state permission. A person close to the MySpace China deal said, ‘People are still trying to figure out if social networking can work as a business in China.’
Why China? China’s population is over 1.3 billion (1/5th of the world’s population). According to a Google Blog post from February 15, 2006, it was stated that: “There are currently more than 105 million Internet users in China.1 Nearly half of them have access to broadband connections â€“ an increase of 41% since 2003.2 Even so, Internet deployment in China is at a very early stage, reaching only about 8% of the population.3 Among those under 24 years of age, more than 80% are Internet users.4 By 2010, China will have more than 250 million Internet users.5 And already, there are more than 350 million mobile phones, a number growing by roughly 57 million annually.” Saying that “the market potential in China for social networks is huge” is an understatement.
The Murdochs have taken a trip to China to seek some partners in the market penetration as well, but one of their primary connections is with Edward Tian. Tian also is founder of China Broadband Capital Partners LP and is a senior advisor for Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (the world’s most renowned leveraged buyout firm). The other News Corp partner that the Murdochs approached for interest in MySpace China includes IDG Technology Venture Investment, an $800 million-powered venture capitalist firm that has investment in other top Chinese start-up companies such as Baidu.com and Chinabytes.com