Thursday, January 25, 2007

ABM China Focus

It's good to see American Business Media keeping up its focus on China. Following last year's Leadership Tour the much livelier MediaPace blog devotes an in-depth posting to the subject today. As well as recapping some of the key developments in magazine publishing, she talks of their involvement in last week's CEFCO through Claudia Flowers' moderating of the M&A session as well as noting a little healthy scepticism about just how open the door is to foreign investment.

I have added a comment to the piece reminding Sara about the tremendous potential for B2B online in this market as well. With new figures showing that Internet users now top 137 million, 50 million+ of them with broadband access, the potential for aggressive online-only strategies combined with wholly-owned face-to-face must be very attractive to many B2B companies.


Anonymous said...

Paul, the impressive potential of online growth for business media companies in China is absolutely worth pointing out, excellent call.

When Gordon returned from last fall's Country Leadership Tour to Beijing, he spoke positively of Chinese technology, referring to to the country as “on the cutting edge of digital media." In a CEFCO show daily discussing the events industry, Internet exhibitions were mentioned as "rapidly becom[ing] the focus of enterprises."

What I find particularly interesting, however, is a point made most eloquently in this morning's posting on CMP's The TechWeb Blog: "The Chinese government has invested a fortune in technology that will allow censors to scale the country's “Great Firewall”... Yet at the same time, the Chinese government has gone to great lengths to promote the Internet as a tool for economic growth and education, providing opportunities that would not otherwise be available to millions of citizens. How long can two such contradictory trends continue to coexist?"

Paul Woodward said...

Sara, very good point. The "censorship" label on this site will pick up a few relevant postings (not enough indexed yet). It is one of the many contradictions and challenges faced by China's leadership as the economy develops.

There are restrictions on publishers running their own web sites in China similar to those which limit and control ownership of traditional magazine businesses. But, the nature of the internet - and generally non-controversial nature of B2B content - mean that there are more options and alternatives for publishers to consider as they build up those activities.

For a really good blog focusing on these issues, check out Rebecca MacKinnon's RConversation.

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