Thursday, October 12, 2006

We want a bit of your $200mn!

This morning at a Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents' Club breakfast, a Moscow-based representative of Interfax gave me his take on the recent Xinhua shenanigans regarding the rights of foreign business information providers to distribute their information in China. His view on this was that:

  1. Distribution of real-time financial information to the Chinese financial services industries is worth around $200mn a year.
  2. Reuters and Bloomberg get most of that.
  3. Xinhua would like some of it.
  4. They have cloaked their run at this $200 mn in political and ideological terminology.
  5. Their effort is doomed to failure; any potential gains for Xinhua in making inroads into that $200 mn or in giving the Party control over information flows would be massively counterbalanced by losses in the Chinese financial services sector due to delays in receiving crucial financial information.

Given Interfax's USSR roots, you sense that they know of what they speak when they talk of these double-edged swords.

Update: Set this against this piece from Fons Tuinstra and the Scotsman piece to which it refers and you wonder if the Mad Hatter's Tea Party isn't in full swing. What would possess Reuters to open a development centre in Beijing at the moment we wonder?

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