Saturday, July 16, 2005


This blog will be taking a break for the next two weeks while we escape the heat and humidity of Hong Kong's mid summer. Back in action on 1st August...unless something catches our eye and we e-mail it in before then.

Baidu listing to go ahead

Mercury News Silicon Beat reporter Matt Marshall pulls together a good report on the proposed $80 million NASDAQ listing of Baidu, China's premier home-grown search engine. It would appear that the speculation which was rife two weeks ago that Google CEO Eric Schmidt, following a visit to Baidu's Beijing offices, would pre-empt the IPO with a buyout offer was either off the mark or an excellent piece of work by the firm's PR advisers to stir up interest.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Jack Morton Worldwide Appoints New MD for Asia

This press release gives details of further expansion of the professionalisation of event marketing in Asia. George P. Johnson has been quietly gearing up for several years and Jack Morton has now taken a GPJ veteran, Ben Taylor, to head up its Asia operations from Hong Kong.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Bloomberg India

An interesting summary of Bloomberg's India plans here on Contentsutra:

Bloomberg To Kick Of Indian Operations:

"Business Standard: Bloomberg, the US-based data, business news and analysis provider, has finalised its plan for India operations. Bloomberg LP, US, will charge its wholly-owned Indian subsidiary, to be set up in Mumbai, an annual fee of $3 million (Rs 1.30 crore) in the first year of operation and $1 million (Rs 43.6 lakh) for TV programming and software production business.

The Indian operation, which is expected to initially have 50 employees, will also pay a lumpsum fee of $2 million (Rs 8.72 crore) to the parent for technology collaboration, according to the documents filed by the company with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Bloomberg will invest Rs 65 lakh ($1,51,000) towards the equity capital of the Indian operation which will produce TV programmes and deliver to one and more Indian channels authorised to telecast financial news in English."

(Via ContentSutra.)

Asian B2B benchmarks

An interesting Asian twist to this post from Paul Conley on being a B2B benchmark. He comments:

Reed Business' ICIS is launching something called the ICIS-LOR Ethylene Index (EIX). The index will be used as the benchmark settlement price at the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange for the world's first over-the-counter (OTC) ethylene futures contract.
That's the sort of brand-name recognition that should be the goal of every B2B publisher.

ICIS-LOR is also establishing some highly-targetted positions for itself in China with a series of very specialised alliances with companies such as HC International.

Focus Media - China's largest Nasdaq IPO reports today on China's largest Nasdaq IPO. Focus Media is an interesting company which has placed screens, usually in the lift lobby, of over 8,500 commercial buildings around major cities in China and Hong Kong. The prospect of addressing a captive audience of business people waiting for a ride up to their offices has proven attractive to advertisers and, it seems, to investors on NASDAQ. The company raised $172 million, the FinanceAsia report says.

Another, similar company, Target Media, is set to list later this year. Before the Focus listing, they were looking to raise $150 million. Perhaps sights will now be set higher still.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Association spins off Singapore furniture fair

We were interested to receive today a press release from the Singapore Furniture Industries Association. It's furniture fair is the most important in south-east Asia and has been spun off into a private company. Pico subisdiary Meeting Planners has bought 40% of the new business. The Association's Quek Chin Tuan becomes CEO of the new company, International Furniture Fair Singapore Pte Ltd.

The new team has plans to build the fair from its current size where it occupies 55,000 square metres at the Singapore Expo venue to take up the full 100,000 square metres which will be available by 2009.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Impact of VNU deal

David Shaw picks up on the point that had grabbed my attention concerning VNU's huge ($7 billion) acquisition of IMS, the market-leading medical market research firm:

A View on VNU:

VNU: The New Face Of Trade Publishing

The good bloggers at Shore Communications have an interesting analysis of the VNU acquisition of IMS.

Key grab: The new model in trade publishing centers on a mix of analytical research, consulting services, and conferences with traditional publishing products like research reports and periodicals included in the mix, but not playing the starring role.

(Via B or not 2B--A Business Media Blog.)

Having spent that much money, we assume that the VNU management is going to be rather focused on the challenges of achieving synergies between IMS and AC Neilson (with which good luck!). Can't imagine our friends in the publishing and events division getting to large a slice of whatever cake is left for business development or, for that matter, top management attention.

Mind you, this may take some of the heat off China business development leaving the teams there to get on with trying to build there businesses one step at a time.

Update: have a look also at Paul Conley's posting on this with some interesting insights into the type of deal it is.

Monday, July 11, 2005

CMP Asia team resurfaces at PriMetrica

At least a couple of members of CMP Asia's disbanded hi-tech publishing team have re-emerged at research firm PriMetrica's recently-acquired MMS subsidiary in Singapore. Adrian Hoon will be the unit's General Manager and, amongst other things, is responsible for the relaunched portal, now operating as an offshot of CMP Media's home site in the US.

Singapore bouncing back

Just got back from a few days meetings in Singapore which finally seems to be coming out of a long funk about losing out to China. Interesting, then to see this report in the FT about the economy re-bounding: Singapore's economy rebounds in second quarter:

Singapore's economy grew at a seasonally adjusted annualised rate of 12.3 percent in the second quarter, boosted by a strong performance in the services sector and a pick-up in manufacturing.

The rise in gross domestic product (GDP) -- the total value of all goods and services in the economy -- was double the forecast of 6.6 percent growth in a Reuters poll.
Analysts said the economy had likely bottomed out during the June quarter and were looking for stronger growth in the second half of the year, driven mainly by manufacturing and a solid improvement in services.

"These were a fairly strong set of figures, thanks mostly to the services sector," said Joseph Tan, economist with Standard Chartered."

Like Hong Kong, all the media companies we visited last week were running flat out to keep up with demand all over Asia. The clear message, "if you can't make money now, you never will".

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Reuters looking to outsource more editorial

Following our posting last month on outsourcing editorial to India, S. Karat at ContentSutra has posted on Reuters wanted ads for editors to cover international markets from Bangalore. He asks:

"A correspondent sitting in Bangalore will cover US companies. Is it a sustainable model? Only time will tell."

It depends what they're asking them to write, but we can't really think of any reasons why it shouldn't work for basic news and financial reporting. The colour can come from local correspondents but with the web, Skype and a bright reporter in Bangalore, what is a local reporter going to add to the basics?

New CEO for VNU in Shanghai

News from the Netherlands that Jimé Essink is to step into the CEO position for VNU Exhibtions Asia. We understand that Jimé will be based in Shanghai. He is currently Chairman of that business and will give us his executive duties in Europe to take up the new role.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Internet filtering in Japan

Rebecca MacKinnon points to some slightly surprising reports from Japan on the efforts of the government there to filter the Internet. It seems that it isn't just China in our part of the world which is afraid of the power of the Internet.

Finet Agreement with Xinhua PR Newswire

Interesting news today of a tie-up between Finet and Xinhua PR Newswire. This brings together three important purveyors of electronic financial information as the world begins to work out how to manage the fast-growing but still very immature Chinese financial markets.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Indian online ad spend up 155%

The always interesting Contentsutra reports on how Indian online adspend is taking off with portals witnessing 100% Growth:

The Internet and Online Association of India (IOAI) says Indian online ad spend grew to Rs 107 crore ($25.4 million) in 2004-05, a 155 per cent jump from Rs 42 crore ($10 million) in 2003-04; in 2002-03, it stood at Rs 34 crore ($7 million).

Online ad rates are also reported to have plummeted by 40 per cent since 2000. The market rates for banners range from Rs 100 ($2.3) to Rs 450 ($10.7) at the cost per thousand reached (CPM).

Soshkeles (large ad formats that are displayed in the main area of pages) are advertised at a per day rate of Rs 35,000 ($833) to Rs 3 lakh ($7143) depending upon the sales volume. Web publishers have inked monthly deals for side panels at rates of Rs 15,000 ($357) to Rs 4 lakh ($9524).

IOAI estimates that the online ad segment will grow to Rs 218 crore ($52 million) in 2006-07. Preeti Desai says that the number of netizens in the country will reach 100 million by 2007 due to the widespread use of cyber cafes and mobiles. Contrary to the popular notion that cyberspace is a niche medium confined to the metros, IOAI has revealed that 49 per cent of India's netizens are outside the top eight cities."

(Via ContentSutra.)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Caijing leaps in top 3 B2B sites we track in Asia

We reported last month on the tracking of B2B web sites in Asia that we have keeping monthly since December 2003. This month see's Caijing magazine's new web site push straight into the top 3 with an ranking of 130.

The results for this month are (last month's ranking in (brackets):

1. (1)
2. (2)
3. (-)
4. (3)
5. (5)
6. Global Sources (4)
7. (6)
8. (7)
9. (10)
10. (8) drops out of the top 10 to 11th place from 9th last month.

The BSG rankings list 45 sites. Caijing is the only 'traditional' publisher to make it anywhere the top of the rankings. Even given the flaws in the methodology, this makes an interesting issue for the media companies to contemplate.

Contact us directly if you would like more details on receiving this report on a regular basis.

Friday, July 01, 2005

BlogChina to list

Even as Rebecca MacKinnon reports on more Chinese blockage of international blog sites, we see reports of a planned $1 billion NASDAQ listing of BlogChina which claims to be the country's leading blog portal. Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, reports the company's founder and CEO Fang Xingdong as saying ""I expect we will surpass Sina with our [initial public offering] next year."

The report suggests that Fang was the person to coin the Chinese translation of blogger, "bo ke". First round funding for the company came from Softbank with a second round of $10 million recently obtained from six VCs in China and the US according to the newspaper.

BlogChina claims revenues of Rmb2 million a month (US$250k) from advertising by companies such as Dell, HP and IBM.

Given that the article suggested $500 million in first round financing (which is obviously wrong), we think somebody may have been muddling their zeroes as they put this report together. $1 billion seems awfully rich even when you combine the China hype with the Internet/blog hype.

...and no word of what you're allowed to discuss on BlogChina although we think we can guess what you can't.