Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Of bits, bytes and frocks at IDG

There's an interesting piece in the UK's Guardian newspaper about IDG titled "The biggest company you've never heard of". It focuses a lot on the moves the company has been taking to cut out print where it can, reporting on the increase of Infoworld's margins in the US from -3% to 37%. Three cheers for that.

Across Asia, it reports, they have had to take various strategies:

...ditching print operations isn't a global strategy: the pace of migration to the web varies by country, according to [IDG founder Pat] McGovern. IDG doesn't have print titles in Korea, and has axed most of them in Japan, for instance, but in India, where internet penetration is less than 3% of the population, he believes print will be the primary platform for some time to come.

It goes on to report how McGovern sleeps comfortably with his position in China:

In China, IDG was one of the first venture capitalists, moving into the country soon after the implementation of Deng Xiaoping's "open door" policy. The company now has 20 titles of its own in China, and publishes a further 22 under licence from companies such as Condé Nast and Hearst.

McGovern talks with pride about how he is a "trusted" partner for the Chinese government and claims that neither operating in China nor reporting on his own investments offers any ethical challenges. "We don't review government policy or economic policy - the issue doesn't come up because a publication like Harper's Bazaar is just not going to cover those subjects," he says.
Bits, bytes and frocks. It seems to be a winning formula.

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