Media business

Murdoch and blogs

Danwei's mentor Rupert Murdoch is getting jiggy with blogs. Reuters reports:

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which is looking for a local partner as it aims to launch its popular MySpace Internet social network in China, is in early talks with prominent local blog companies and, industry sources said on Sunday.

On a visit to Beijing in September, Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng met with Bokee -- one of China's first and best-known blogging sites which commands 25 percent of the market -- one source said.

MySpace co-founders Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe have also met Bokee and rival BlogCN several times, the sources said, though it remains unclear whether there will be a tie-up...

...News Corp. said on Wednesday it could launch a version of MySpace in China during this fiscal year if it found the right joint venture partner.

In related news, Red Herring has published an interview with Dou Yi, founder of blog service provider Blogbus about a new round of investment in his company:

An official estimate from the China Internet Network Information Center puts the number of Chinese blogs at over 70 million, with some 30 million bloggers actively writing them. Shanghai-based Blogbus, launched in late 2002, was one of the first blog service providers (BSPs).

Founded by an ex-securities broker named Dou Yi, now 29, Blogbus offers free blog hosting but charges VIP membership fees of less than $15 a year.

In early 2005, the Chinese venture fund UCI took a 20 percent stake in Blogbus, but Mr. Dou led a founder buyback of that stake in October and set out to raise a new round. Mr. Dou dropped by Red Herring’s Beijing office for a chat.

Q: Congratulations on your Series A funding. What can you tell me about the investment?

A: We raised $3 million from JAIC, which is the third or fourth largest VC in Japan, and Cyber Agent [a publicly traded Japanese Internet media and advertising company]. JAIC had been looking at us for a year and a half. They’re very detail-oriented. And they really know the space...

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