Saturday, May 17, 2008

China and Japan coming together

Before the earthquake, the big China story was President Hu Jintao's visit to Japan which included a visit from the Emperor and various other bridge-building exercises. For those doing scenario planning, the possibility of lowering the risk of China/Japan conflict is a very welcome one.

It's interesting to see more and more of the China-based Internet companies extending their reach into Japan. For example, Baidu reported a week or so ago that its Japanese traffic hit 713,000 person times in February. I suspect that's relatively small beer compared to market leader Yahoo! Japan but they obviously feel they're making sufficient headway to broadcast it.

We noted last week the brief announcement of Alibaba's Japanese tie-up with Softbank. There's more on this today with a detailed Reuters report from 14th May. The two companies will invest $20 million in Japan which will "the new firm will take over the operation of's existing Japanese language site" according to the report. Softbank is a long-term investor in Alibaba and still owns 30% of the Group.

Now, we also see that Xinhua Finance is getting in on the act. It is, of course, listed in Tokyo on the oddly-named "Mothers" exchange but is primarily focused on China business. Now, it is linking up with Microsoft "with the launch of a feature section on the financial portal MSN Money under MSN Japan ( ) to fulfill Japanese investors' keen interest in China intensified by the momentum heading to the Beijing Olympics this summer".

Who's next?

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