Microsoft formally launched its MSN services in a 50-50 joint venture with Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd (SAIL), owned by the Shanghai municipal government and a partner in the software giant's first software service JV in China three years ago.
In its first Chinese acquisition, Microsoft bought R&D assets from Shenzhen-based mobile software developer TSSX Mobile, with whom it also signed an agreement to deliver MSN Mobile worldwide. Microsoft said MSN China would generate revenue mainly through online advertising and wireless value-added services. Internet users in China already use MSN's free email and messenger services, but the new venture would add more offerings, including a portal, wireless value-added services, and a search engine.
In the search area, Microsoft has its work cut out, as Google, the No 2 search engine in China, won a license in May to operate a representative office in the Mainland, obtaining a China domain, www.google.com.cn, and posting a job opening for a Mainland marketing maverick on its website.