China Digital Media Readings for November 22nd

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  • on November 22nd, 2011
  • 2009—Sina, Focus Media drop merger plan | Reuters- two years ago//SHANGHAI, Sept 28 2009 (Reuters) – Sina Corp (SINA.O) and Focus Media Holding Ltd (FMCN.O) said on Monday they would effectively scrap their $1.4 billion merger after months of government stonewalling over a deal that would have created China’s biggest private sector media company.

    At the same time, Sina, China’s biggest Web portal, announced that a group led by its management team would buy about 10 percent of the company for $180 million, which could be used for future acquisitions and corporate purposes.

  • 发改委否认宽带垄断案和解:仍在调查取证-搜狐IT – NDRC denies a settlement in the china unicom/telecom broadband monopoly investigation
  • Bloomberg’s Plan for World Domination – The Daily Beast – With an army of reporters and wonky information services, the media company is expanding from Wall Street to Washington, Where it hopes to control—even more.
  • Xunlei, despite canceling IPO, is still raising U.S. copyright concerns | VentureBeat- U.S. Representative Scott Garrett, who oversees the Congressional Finance Committee, then wrote a letter to SEC chairman Mary Schapiro on November 10 pointing out, among other things, the U.S. copyrights that Xunlei is likely violating. Garrett’s letter cites Pilarowski’s column in the Times.Garrett asks several pointed questions, the crux of which is this one: “Does the Commission have a standing policy regarding the approval of foreign companies to be listed on U.S. exchanges where there is evidence that a company’s business model is likely to be in violation of U.S. law?”
  • Sen. Schumer Urges Audit Watchdog to Act on China – WSJ.com- Audit War coming? US-listed china firms at risk $china//A prominent senator is expected to urge the U.S. auditing-oversight agency to refuse to allow Chinese accounting firms to audit U.S.-traded companies until American inspectors are allowed to evaluate the firms’ work.

    Inspectors at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board conduct regular reviews of audit firms with U.S.-traded clients, even if the auditors and their clients are based overseas, to assess their performance and make sure they are complying with auditing standards. But the Chinese government, citing sovereignty concerns, hasn’t allowed the U.S. inspectors into China to review the work of Chinese audit firms.

  • Letao CEO: I’m Cutting 80% of Ad Expenditure – Let’s Stop the E-Commerce Price Wars | Tech in Asia – Speaking very frankly to Sina Tech news – indeed, much more candidly that most CEOs ever do – Bi Sheng said he often feels that the entire e-commerce sector in China is not sustainable as it stands at the moment. He added, “This July I felt that the entire market is not right,” and that gut reaction prompted him to slash 80 percent of Letao’s expenditure on advertising in a bid to reduce wastage. He revealed that his site was spending 350,000 RMB ($55,000) per month last year on Baidu’s ad platform, and that had doubled to 700k earlier this year. So, presumably after these cost-savings, Letao will spend just 140,000 RMB per month on those online ads. It’s not clear how much it is spending on other forms of critical advertising in this sector, such as outdoor ads in major cities.
  • 江南春的微博 新浪微博-随时随地分享身边的新鲜事儿 – focus ceo jason jiang sina weibo acount discussion of muddy water charges and comments
  • Issue 545 21-11-2011 – Economic Observer News- China business, politics, law, and social issues – When one vendor wants to offer a group deal, they will now get applications from ten group buying sites that are willing to partner up.
    ~ The vendors can demand almost anything from the partners – exclusive sales, free advertisements etc. – and this has weighed heavily on the profitability of these sites.
    ~ For example, group buying websites will offer discounted movie tickets at nine yuan, all of which they will pass on to the cinema. That leaves nothing to pay for advertising, which in the case of bigger players like Lashou.com (拉手网),  is estimated at around 30 million yuan a month.
    ~ There are now so many disreputable group purchase companies in operation that consumers and companies have little trust in them.
  • Expedia, Inc. Acquires Stake in eLong, Inc. from Renren Inc. – MarketWatch -
  • 宽带反垄断案现转机 _政经频道_财新网 – 中国电信和中国联通公司已经与国家发改委进行了充分沟通,或有可能达成和解协议,两家公司认错并承诺整改,国家发改委将中止调查。
  • Buying Focus Media on Advice of Goldman Sachs Lost Owners 66% – Businessweek – Catherine Leung, Goldman Sachs’s Hong Kong-based analyst on the stock, raised her price estimate to $45 from $42 on Nov. 18, a day after Focus Media reported profit that beat analysts’ predictions by 12 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Bank of America’s Eddie Leung boosted his price forecast to $41 from $39, saying “execution remains solid,” according to a Nov. 18 note from the Hong Kong-based analyst.
  • Focus Media Plunges After Muddy Waters Issues ‘Strong Sell’ Recommendation – Bloomberg -
  • Muddy Waters Initiating Coverage on FMCN – Strong Sell | Muddy Waters Research – devastating. Shanghai TMT and Investing crowd will not be pleased at this report or its possible implications

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