China's Oprah talks censorship with Meeker
How to convince Chinese government cyber-snoops to keep their mitts off their nation's Internet?
Beijing entrepreneur and media diva Hung Huang - who's been dubbed the Oprah of China - found a persuasive argument in comments of Morgan Stanley tech analyst Mary Meeker. In a panel discussion of the explosive growth of China's Internet, Meeker reckoned that China, with 111 million Internet users and 393 million mobile phone users, has already overtaken the US as the largest consumer of telecommunications products and services.
And yet, Meeker noted, the market performance of Chinese IT companies lags far behind their potential: total market capitalization of Chinese Internet companies amounts to less than $15 billion - half the market cap of Yahoo Japan.
Why the mismatch? The key reason, says Meeker, is investor uncertainty about state censorship and over-regulation.
"If I were China"s Information Minister," said Hung, "I'd be a lot more impressed by claims that Chinese companies are undervalued and that censorship hurts economic competitiveness than I would by Western complaints about human rights."
Hung promised to post that and other observations from the morning's panel on her own blog, which is one of the most the most popular in China.
"I want to do it as an experiment," she said. "Let's see if it gets censored."
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