MySpace in China

BEIJING - MySpace publicized its launch in China Thursday, following months of rumor about the Rupert Murdoch-controlled social networking site's plans for the nation's 137 million Internet users.

MySpace China introduced itself as a "locally owned, operated and managed company" in which News Corp-owned MySpace Inc was only one among several shareholders.

"Our team here will have the sole right to decide the operation model, the technology platform as well as the product strategy," said MySpace China CEO Luo Chuan, a former Microsoft executive.

"It's very unlike the other multinationals you might have heard about or seen in the Chinese market."

MySpace China may have been spurred to emphasize its local uniqueness by the fact that international Internet companies' goes to enter China have so far tended to end in collapse, observers said.

Despite MySpace China's hard work to differentiate itself, MySpace Inc will be signified with three board members.

They include Murdoch's wife, Wendy Deng, as well as MySpace founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson, Luo said.

Investors in MySpace China also consist of International Data Group and China Broadband Capital Partners, an investment company founded by former China Netcom Group Corp chief executive Edward Tian.

Luo refused at a briefing to give specific details about the size of the investment or the share that MySpace Inc accounts for. Analysts have said that it was essential for MySpace Inc to enter into a partnership with local companies in order to increase access to China's tightly controlled Internet.

MySpace is one of the world's most famous websites, but the MySpace China community is still in its test phase, custom-made from the US version, and will gradually be developed to meet the needs of Chinese users, the company said.

Negotiations have been in improvement since News Corp Chairman Murdoch announced last October that he would bring MySpace to China, according to earlier reports.