myspace.cn.gifOne for the better-late-than-never category. MySpace, the hugely popular social networking site now owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, has duly launched a Chinese site, imaginatively titled MySpace.cn.

The same week, Intel announced a Series B investment in home-grown rival 51.com, which claims to be the largest social networking site in China with about 60m registered accounts.

EngagingChina continues to be of the opinion that most social networking sites are going to disappear as quickly as they arrived, as the business case remains unproven. Of course, China has a helluva lot of potential consumers for social networking and MySpace, being the biggest and best known in the west, has a big advantage.

But China is already awash with home-grown sites like 51.com, Baidu, Tencent and countless others.

So, it will be interesting to see how Murdoch intends to apply his acumen to making money from MySpace.cn. It will be even more interesting to see how MySpace.cn deals with local content rules in China.

If the local content is ring-fenced from the bigger MySpace.com universe, then the Chinese version of the site will be seen to a watered-down version of the real thing, making it less attractive to Chinese users and advertisers. Google maid a similar mis-step in China by being seen to cave in too readily to censorship pressures.

China-based blogger Dragon Calvin has more on social networking sites in China here. Murdoch's plans for MySpace in China was the subject of this earlier EngagingChina story. More on Intel's VC interests in China in this story.


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