Li Xinran at the Shanghai Daily:
MSN’S Chinese Website will soon launch its own search engine, a Beijing-based newspaper reported today.
The Beta version of the Chinese MSN search will be available at http://beta.search.msn.com.cn/. The launch of the new search engine will be decided by feedback from the test run, Luo Chuan, director of Microsoft MSN’s China business, told Beijing Business Today.
Currently Yahoo! is the search function provider of msn.com.cn.
No ads as yet that I could see, but they will be coming after it launches.
Speaking of China, the bad press for Microsoft continues for closing down the MSN Spaces blog of a Chinese journalist:
“The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the Chinese authorities for censoring well-known blogger Zhao Jing, and is alarmed by Microsoft’s agreement to pull down his site,” the group said in a statement received here Tuesday.
Zhao, whose on-line pen name is Michael Anti, had his site on Microsoft’s China-based MSN Spaces hosting service deleted on December 30 after he wrote about the government’s removal of top editors at the Beijing News newspaper.
IT companies operating in countries with repressive regimes should face tighter regulation when it comes to supporting freedom of speech, according to a leading anti-censorship organisation.
Press freedom group Reporters without Borders issued a report late last week calling on the US government and US regulators to help develop a voluntary code of conduct for IT companies operating in countries such as China, Tunisia and Burma.
The Reporters without Borders press release calls out the blog incident and has more details.
Update: MSN China is actually a joint venture:
May 11, 2005 — MSN, the online services division of Microsoft Corp., today announced it has formed a joint venture with Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. (SAIL) to launch MSN China. The newly formed entity Shanghai MSN Network Communications Technology Company Ltd., which received approval from Chinese government agencies, is set to deliver popular and innovative MSN® products and services to consumers throughout China.
Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. is the investment company of Jiang Mianheng, the son of a former president of China.