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Rupert Murdoch said on Tuesday that his wife, Wendy Deng, was working with senior News Corp executives to help bring the company’s popular MySpace social networking site to China.
“We have to make MySpace a very Chinese site,” Mr Murdoch said at a media conference organised by Goldman Sachs. “I have sent my wife across there because she understands the language.”
Mr Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp, bought MySpace last year as part of his strategy for the digital age. MySpace has become one of the most popular sites on the internet because of the ease with which people can communicate and share text, pictures and video.
He said his wife, Ms Deng, who is not an officer of the company, was currently in China with senior News Corp executives trying to find a way for MySpace to enter the Chinese market without running up against political obstacles and the “heavy weather” that internet groups Google and Yahoo have encountered.
Mr Murdoch said MySpace in China was likely to have local partners, who would own around 50 per cent.
This would ensure the content was more suitable for a Chinese audience, and Mr Murdoch also said it would mean his local partners could deal with complaints.
Mr Murdoch has been trying to expand his media group in the Chinese mainland, but admitted last year he was hitting a brick wall with the authorities over foreign media groups’ control.
The Chinese authorities continue to restrict the free exchange of information and access to news, despite rapid liberalisation of the economy.
There is widespread internet use, and the spread of broadband connections is increasingly rapidly.
MySpace is adding around 1.5m new users globally every week and recently surpassed 100m registered users. It recently launched in the UK and is planning other European expansion.
Mr Murdoch, who beat rival Viacom in buying the site last year, said one of the biggest challenges MySpace faced was technical, with the company having to cope with buying enough servers to keep up with its sharp increases in traffic.