By Michael Smith/Reuters
Sydney: News Corp.’s $5 billion bid for Dow Jones & Co. Inc. may give a boost to Rupert Murdoch’s plans to expand in Asia, although China still poses a challenge for the media tycoon.
The media giant has had mixed success in Asia where it owns Hong Kong-based broadcaster Star TV and Star India but has made several unsuccessful attempts to tap China’s rapidly growing media market.
Dow Jones’ presence in Asia through the Wall Street Journal Asia and Dow Jones Newswires would give Murdoch a further foothold in the region but was unlikely to make a significant difference to his China ambitions, analysts said.“It would offer him more of a base in that area, but it is still Murdoch rather than News. So if the Chinese have a problem with Murdoch the person, then him owning Dow Jones won’t greatly get over that problem,” independent media analyst Peter Cox said.
News Corp. has failed to team up with local TV stations and newspaper publishers and now sees new media as one of its best strategies to gain a foothold in the Chinese market. It launched a test of its online social network MySpace last month.
Murdoch, whose China-born wife Wendi has been involved in recent deals, has a choppy history with Beijing. In 1994, he dropped BBC World Service Television from News Corp.’s satellite broadcast to China.
The move was seen as a conciliatory gesture after he angered Chinese authorities by remarking that no dictatorship was safe in the media age. Beijing responded by tightening controls on private ownership of satellite dishes.
“Between him and Wendi they are putting a lot of work into China and it is perhaps the last great frontier. China offers News Corp. the possibility of being bigger than Europe and the U.S,” Cox said.
“The problem for him and everyone else that has gone in there is to build a viable business.”