Monday, November 28, 2005

Stanley Ho Hung-sun is in the limelight in Hong Kong

The 85-year-old Macau casino tycoon, Stanley Ho Hung-sun(何鸿燊), who has been considered as a staunch partner of Chinese Communist Party, is in the limelight of Hong Kong media.
He placed ads on some presses to support government’s democratic proposal on his birthday. He also said that government would need to make concessions only if the turnout for the march exceeded 50,000(related story). That riled democratic camps, which sworn that they will by all means break that number to show HK people’s courage to the world.
Later on, he said a certain official of central government of China told him that universal suffrage in HK should be fulfilled step by step, and cited United States with 200-year history fulfills its universal suffrage only in its 180th year. He added the official said that if HK steadily demand the timetable of universal suffrage, what he only said is that it won’t be posterior to 2046 (Wong Kar-Wai’s hit movie in 2003) at latest definitely.
Almost at the same time, Mr. Ho’s sister placed ads to request Mr. Ho to pay off billions of HK dollars she should get. That’s part of the legend story about Mr. Ho’s family. Mr. Ho dismissed his 79-year-old sister last year from the post of director of his casino empire. Mrs. Ho wouldn’t rather step down, and has been fighting with his brother under the support of her son (another report), who was also dismissed from the top manager in Mr. Ho’s company.
Mr. Ho pledged a $500 million fund to our university (the University of Hong Kong) to celebrate its centenary in 2011 several weeks ago. Before that, Mr. Ho together with a woman (I didn’t recognize if she is Mr. Ho’s fourth wife or beloved daughter)showed up quickly in a donation ceremony our department organized (we got 1 million HK dollars donation from Shum Wai Yau, who was once a famous local journalist).
It seems that Mr. Ho is a very complex person from the aforementioned matters. What do you think?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Google: Unknown Story -the next media empire?

I didn't update my blog in the past a couple of days, because I was trying to find more information related to Google and its competitors. I would like to broach a question, will Google become another media empire?
From the chart I extracted from many sources to make, we can see the top-25 media companies in 2003. Bertelsmann which is a German media conglomerate, is the fourth largest media company in the world in terms of revenue. Google's revenue in 2003 should rank 24th. However, actually, many companies in the above chart aren't media companies; they are media related companies, such as Comcast,Cox,Clear Channel, because their primary revenue source are from system operation or outdoor AD(Clear ChanneL). So, we can't count Sony as a pure media company, but it has much investment in the movie, record label industry. Thus, Google's ranking should be more forward.
I looked up those companies's financial statements respectively, and got the data in 2004, but some companies don't provide the number of AD revenue. If we see the revenue figure in 2004, Google will surge to the 19th in the rankings. And again, if we see the temporary statements of these companies in 2005, Google's revenue increased nearly 100% over last year, yet other companies increased slightly, almost at the rate below 10%. Therefore, Google probably would rank 9th replacing Gannett in the 2005's rankings. Furthermore, if we exclude these companies whose assets aren't purely from media (publications and programs) , or just base on their advertising revenues(it's an important indicator for media companies), Google's ranking will go up to 6th in U.S, and 7th in the world in 2005( Bertelsmann). And, if Google can go on keeping such growth rate in the next five years, it will be world's largest media company. It would be another legend that a company establish a media empire only in ten years!
How can Google do that? I wouldn't like to talk more about its content strategy, because there have been many reports about that. I just would like to talk about its advertising management strategy,which makes its overwhelmingly major source of revenue (99% of its total revenue). I don't see any graphic ads like Gif banner, flash,etc. on Google, yes, Google only provides text ads to its clients. With the growth of bandwidth, many advertising professionals hyped the so-called rich media advertising in the past, but Google still emphasizes the model of performance based text only advertising. And it did work!
Performance based advertising means that advertisers pay only if users click ad, call to them(Google has provides its newest advertising service-click to call. I might elaborate it later), or even buy their goods. Google has been making its pre-eminent search technology to boost its key word advertising, and it bought Applied Semantics who was an online advertising tech company in April 2003, both adsence and adwords have become one of its most important and profitable products since then. Meanwhile, Yahoo bought Overture which is competing search advertising tech company with Google On October 7, 2003, but Yahoo often lays behind with Google in the competitive strategy.
Actually, what Google did is almost same with that DoubleClick, who used to be a dominant advertising technology and network company. DouleClick has good AD server technology (plus netgravity. I once used their product and service) ,comprehensive network, and reputable clients. However, DoubleClick doesn't have much unique product, what it did can be easily copied (in China, a local notorious Chinese company has defeated DoublClick in this market). DC has been bought by Hellman & Friedman, LLC in April 2005. Somebody said ADsense is the representation of web2.0 compared with DC. It does make sense, but may be a little bit overstated.
However, I would say Google should go on making progress in the innovation both in the aspects of technology and business strategy. I would like to talk about the possible potential threats to Google later. The story will continue......

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Google: Unknown Story

Google is again in the limelight recently. Google stock price exceeds 400$ per share, and market value hits 120 billion. It has been the fourth largest tech company, and the third largest NASDAQ trade company (only inferior to Microsoft and Intel. IBM is traded in New York Stock Exchange Market) in terms of market value in the stock market. It seems that the image of crash of dot com and tech stocks in 2001 are still fresh, and NASDAQ is still in the swamp, how come Google is at full blast? Will Google lead the advent of so-called web 2.0?
I looked up today’s stock prices of both Google and Yahoo. Google’s is 410.9395$ per share, and Yahoo’s is 42.27$ per share. Their market values are 120.99B$ and 59.97B$ respectively. Google’s market value has almost amounted to the sum of that of Yahoo and EBay (64.38B$).However, if making a comparison between Google’s traffic, and income, and Yahoo’s traffic and EBay’s income, we can find that Google’s gross profit (1.73B) is lower than that of Ebay (2.66B), and Google’s traffic is lower than Yahoo, based on Alexa and Nielson/Netratings. (According to Alexa, Google ranks No.3 under Yahoo and MSN. According to Netratings, Google (190,598,000) also ranks No.3 under yahoo (194,999,000) and Microsoft (236,509,000) in the rankings of world’s most visited websites excluding China. I should redundantly add that Alexa’s method has many limitations, because it depends on the numbers of downloaded program which counts the traffic. Yet many work people can’t install it; its samples are biased. Netratings’ method is much like What AC Nielsen has been doing in the TV rating, which employs many random samples in many cities to fill in diaries or press “people meter”. ).
Does it imply the dusk of the old dot com represented by Yahoo, and dawn of the new web2.0 represented by Google? If we analyze the NASDAQ Index in the past years, we found that the peak of NASDAQ Composite Index was 5048.62 in Oct. 2000, and the nadir of NASDAQ index after peak was 1114.11 in Oct. 2002. Current NASDAQ index is 2241.67. However, how about Google’s price? I think it’s a little bit overvalued, but not too much.
Some Wall Street analysts said Google’s price would hit 500$ a share in the next 12 months . In my view, that's one of the major reasons why Google is blasting off, that is, investment analysts might mislead the investors somehow. If we look up the trade history of major stock prices in NASDAQ, we’ll find Yahoo had achieved the peak trade price at 433.29$ in Dec. 1999 (its highest open price was once over 500$), even after its stock was split three times. If we went back to Jan. 1999, when NASDAQ Index was near to present price, Yahoo price was 354.25$ a share. If we considered into the factor of stock split, it could be near to present Google’s stock trade price. Until now, it seems that we are substantiating its rationality of high price. No, don’t forget current Yahoo’s price (42$). Google’s price couldn’t be so high. Google must split its stock, and make its price under 100$ a share. However, based on my observations on Google, it will have much better performance than Yahoo. Next, I’ll talk about them.
Google has better global competitive strategy than Yahoo in terms of confronting with the censorship of totalitarian countries. We know Yahoo surrendered its client’s (Shi Tao, I ever talk about in the story below) personal information to Chinese government, and led to its client be jailed. I know many people said Google also helped Chinese government to filter some sensitive websites. Actually, I need to applaud what Google did, because it didn’t do that foolishly as Yahoo did. What Google did is to distinguish where users are by technical analysis. For example, if a website is blocked in China, and you visit the website from China; Google won’t show the website to you. However, if you visit the same blocked website in China by means of overseas proxy server, you'll see the website normally. That’s great! Google doesn’t need to offend Chinese government by its smart technology. Another case is Google map (it has been changed to Google Local). We know Taiwan government protested that Google called Taiwan is a province of China in the Map service. Google later on didn’t show any texts. When Beijing government protested, Google just said we had a strategic recap. Google easily survived these crisis, on the other side, that expounds there is a new dispute in the Google Sovereignty. That’s amazing! Continue......

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Former top CCP leader,and the motivator of Tiananmen Movement, was commemorated by CCP leaders

The time has spanned the 12am; now it's Nov.20. I have to talk about a person relating to today. It is also the 90th birthday of the former CCP(Chinese Communist Party) General Secretary (1981-1987), and also the his death in April 15, 1989 directly led to the occurrence of Tiananmen Movement then (please see the second pix below, which was taken during the Tiananmen Movement in 1989. Citizens and students in Beijing went to Tiananmen Square to commemorate Hu Yaobang's latest death spontaneously).
I'd like to talk about him, because he made me sense the true society first. Hu Yaobang died on April 15,1989, and CCTV (the only nationwide official TV station in China) broadcasted the obituary. I was in the sixth grade in the elementary school then. I talked to my classmates about his death news. I remembered I said, "the person is a good man, and I almost cry out when I watched the TV news of his death". I don't know why. I was a kid then indeed. However, since then, I knew a lot of things, and I want to know a lot of things, even my personality changed a lot.
The second reason why I'd like to talk about him is because Hu Yaobang was involved in the journalism reform in China from 1978 to 1987.
I once interviewed an elder advertising professional of China in 1998. I clearly remembered that he said it should owe to Hu Yaobang that advertising industry in China could be resumed after "Cultural Revolution"(Hu was the Propaganda Minister then, which took charge of both media and advertising industry). I also once interviewed a famous liberal Chinese journalist a month ago. He said it should owe to Hu Yaobang that China Youth Daily could make good news all the time, and the Chinese people especially college students then could come alive after the collapse of "Gang of Four" .
I looked up the internet in China, to figure out what Chinese netizens think about Hu Yaobang. As of one hour ago, there were 4761 persons who posted comments in on the reports that China commemorated Hu Yaobang's 90th anniversary of birth. Overwhelmingly majority of the comments were to praise Hu Yaobang's feat. Interestingly, Many netizens knew it was Hu Jintao who decided to commemorate Hu Yaobang, so many posts showed that they respect Hu Jintao as Hu Yaobang. A snap pic (the texts in the box) on the right expounds both Hu Jintao and Hu Yaobang are the pillars of China's future. Maybe, president Hu has partly achieved the original goal to improve his awful image in the past years through this controversial event with his peers.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The follow-up story about crazy ads on Nov.16

I was too tired yesterday, and I didn’t find the ads on Sun, TakungPao, so I didn’t post anything. I tried to find the the ads in the newspaper our department doesn't have in the HKU library, but unfortunately, they don’t have those paper, and even fewer than our department.
First of all, I explain the incident from the cost point of view. The man who is called Gu Mingjun (see the man in the pix), cost 1.1 million (over 140 thousand U.S dollars) to place ads in at least 15 Chinese newspapers in HK on Nov.16 (source: HK Economic Daily News). That is called roadblock strategy in the advertising campaign. The newspapers where the full page ads were placed in the front page included MingPao (cost 176,000 HK$, please refer to its rate card at:
), SingTao (145,000 HK$, please refer to its rate card at:, am730 (free paper, its rate card doesn’t specify the price of full page B/W ads in the front page, but it mentions the B/W full page ROP ads, and the 4 color full page ads in the front page. So I guess it is 100,000 HK$ or so. Source: ), Economic Journal (信報)(it doesn’t have website, so I didn’t find its rate card). Excluding some tabloids and free newspaper which ads price are relatively low, ads in the five main stream broadsheets, such as MingPao, Oriental (99,800 HK$), Apple Daily (cost 115,000 HK$, source:
), Sun (60,000 HK$), SingTao, cost the man nearly 600,000 HK$, accounts for approximately 54% of its total budget.
Secondly, everybody may ask the same question: why did the man do that? According to the accounts of newspaper in HK yesterday, the man decided to place ads to support government, because he was angry that the chairman of Next Media, and a legislator of Democratic Party fabricated a 78-year-old man who placed ads to appeal to universal suffrage in the Apply Daily(see the color ad on the left). The next day after he placed ads, he went to police station and complaining service of Legco to report that the legislator fabricated news(ads) (the pixs related to the stroy can be seen at my another blog).
I used to be an advertising professional, so I clearly know advertising campaign should have a specific objective first, and the advertising effect depends on that objective you specify (that's what DAGMAR theory says). And then, you should know your target audience you want to appeal to. And then, you choose the appropriate media based on the relevant research (such as your target's reading habit, what're their favorite newspapers, etc). However, the man's ads cost so much money, and were placed on all the Chinese media. What I only can say is he must be crazy. Or, his money is too much, and he wants to throw off by meas of "donating" to media. Next, I give some clues from media's accounts.
Thirdly, we might ask another question, was it worthy of doing that? In other words, what was his true motive to do that? Some media said that he has been planning to privatize his two public companies, so he might just want to attract the attention of whole society, especially both HK government and Beijing government.
At last, we also want to ask what HK wants to embrace after the having freedom and run of law with HK's characteristic. If people just have freedom, that may be what the savage primitive society was like. If people just have run of law, that may be what the feudal society was like. Of course, If people just have the democracy at the low level, that may also be what the under-developed society was like, such as ancient Roma, and Athens. Democracy is the daily life style, not the slogan, or show arts. The ads war in HK implied politicians in the two camps including some so-called democrats are exploiting the will of general public. The barriers of full democratization in HK are not only from Beijing, but from their own elites in HK.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The biggest news in HK today

Today, I think the biggest news in HK is that a businessman placed full page advertisements in almost all the Chinese newspapers, including Apply Daily and free newspapers in HK. The guts of ads are to call on HK residents to support the proposal of democratic reform by government, as apposed to the ads placed in Apple Daily several days ago. I guess those ads will at least cost 1 million HK dollars. How come a man cost so much money just in order to express the will to support government? This is a weird thing!
Everybody says that there is freedom and rule of law, but no democracy in HK. I would also say the freedom in HK is HK style freedom. Media in HK are strongly commercially motivated, and they usually lose the objective and neutral position because of the temptation of commercial interests, although the world should admit that HK somehow still has press freedom to some extent, or at certain level. Advertising has been considered as the part of press freedom and freedom of expression. In America, advertising is beloved to be the commercial speech, which is protected by First Amendment, only if ads violate the interests of consumers, can FCC or the justice department regulate it. We have seen this kind of sufficient business-driven press freedom, as well as another kind of insufficient independent and objective press freedom in HK. These days, a lot of persons and organizations expressed the will opposing to government’s proposal, appealed to the dual universal suffrage in 2007 and 2008, and summoned HK residents to demonstrate on the street on December 4 by means of advertising.

Initially, the chairman of Next media, which runs the Apply Daily, Mr. Li Zhiying called for people to oppose to government’s proposal, and claimed that he would pay for half of the ads if somebody placed ads to express the will in the media (actually, 50% discount of rate card. It's a little higher than the 30% discount which is givent to their agencies). He claimed that the men who give signature in the ads to support democracy just need to pay 200 HK$ (please see the ads below). The Democratic Party cost 300,000 HK dollars to place ads in the media after an anonymous so-called HK 78-year-old man placed an ad, expressing the strong will to embrace universal suffrage in 2007 and 2008.

I was upset and frustrated by somebody

I watched a documentary about 9/11 review on National Geographic Channel tonight (half an hour ago). I was still shocked by the images even if I have watched them as soon as the incident happened. A guy who lives in the same floor with me said he was excited when he heard the news, and the reason why he sit along just in order to watch the Twin Tower collapse again. When he didn't see the end of the documentary, he said angrily, "damn it, how come it (Twin Tower) doesn't collapse yet!" He is a PHD candidate from mainland China. How come Hong Kong government wastes taxpayer's money to support such cold bloody guy!
I have several classmates from mainland. When they heard something critical of China or Chinese government by the foreign students, they aren't happy very much. What they believe is that even if China isn't good enough, but we Chinese can't criticize our own leaders or motherland. What a herd of lost students!
In HK, I got to know a lot of people, who have different backgrounds in terms of culture, knowledge, religion, and ideology. I have s strong sense. Some people, especially ones from mainland China, are deeply influenced by the communism ideology. But they may also talk about the professional ethics. I think they have been contaminated from the bottom of heart, and won't purify themselves. We should respect each other, even if he is a radical communist. That is very important. However, there is somebody who has some power; they can criticize others who have a different faith. I'm very upset and frustrated! When I was a teacher in the university, I told my students they can join in Communist Party as long as they truly believe in it, but not being motivated by some incentives.
HK especially HKU is a very free place compared with mainland China, that's what I mostly cherish. However, HK can't be HK any more, if anybody can be somebody, disregarding if he respects the truth, and human conscience.
In the campus, we only need to respect the facts, truth and morality in the objective way. You can hate George W. Bush, or Hu JinTao, whomever, that's your choice. You need, and have to be cautious about if you breach the bottom line. Unfortunately, many people breach it.
I love HK, but I disdain some rats in HK!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hearing about Yahoo case organized by HK Legco

A journalist named ShiTao (師濤) in mainland China was sentenced to 10 year prison because he leaked some information about the 15th anniversary of June 4 to an overseas organization. The accusation was leaking state secretes. In this case, the controversy was that Yahoo HK disclosed his personal information to PRC government, and then, Chinese government got him, and arrested him.
A legislator in HK called Emily Lau (劉慧卿-the last pix) and other legislator, such as Albert Cheung (鄭經翰) who are the members of pan-democratic faction organized a hearing for this case. They claimed that Yahoo HK might violate the privacy law of HK, so they invited the commissioner of privacy in HK to testify.
I felt very disappointed with the hearing. Everybody just attended the meeting for the meeting; nothing constructive. Most important, Shi Tao is still in jail, furthermore, has to be there for 10 years.
Yahoo HK didn't appear, and just a written statement said the case was nothing to do with Yahoo HK; it was what Yahoo China did.
The chairman of FCC (Foreign Correspondent Club) in HK, Ilaria Maria Sala, was present, but said few and something meaningless.
I think the reason why such hearing was meaningless is because HK Legco is still a flower vase, in other words, they can't determine anything in HK yet. As Albert Cheung said we weren't American congress, so Yahoo HK dared be absent.
Interestingly enough, the founder of DAB, Tsang Yok Sing (曾鈺成-the third pix), who has been the staunch pro-Beijing politician in HK sit in all along. Why could he be interested in such meeting?

Some references about ShiTao-Yahoo Case
The verdict of ShiTao can be downloaded at Berkman Center at Harvard Law School.
A open letter to the Yahoo founder Jerry Yang by Liu Xiaobo, full Chinese version can be seen here: . Here is an English version of open letter in the New York Times at:
The same story was covered by other presses at:
Washington Post
Comments of users
A website against Yahoo because of the incident at:

Friday, November 11, 2005

Marry Meeker gave a speech in China

A Speech about internet trend in China was given by Marry Meeker, Managing Director of Morgan Stanley, in China and Hong Kong simultaneously.
The picture was blur, because she was in Shantou,South China, and we saw her speech through the video conference system.
She said what she most bet on is mobile internet. Although she is the most influential investment analyst on internet in Wall Street, she seems to assume everything. What I mean isn't to blame her. Technology is fast changing, so she couldn't assert anything uncertain.
I prepared some questions about how ICT influences the society initially, but I lost the interest and courage to ask, because she was in China.
Her presentation can be downloaded at the website of E-commerce Institute at HKU. Posted by Picasa

the last governor of HK is visiting HK

the last governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten gave speech at HKU.
Actually, I didn't attend his speech, because of a class. So, the picture was taken by my friend. However, interestingly enough, Patten went to our department to be interviewed by the Chief Editor of Standard after his public speech, and said hello to us.
I ever asked my friend what his speech was about. I had a feeling. When everything was related to money, everything would be changed. So did Patten. Patten talked a lot, but he didn't dare criticize the government of both HK and China. Is that gentle reason? I don't think so. We know Mr Patten was ever a radical politician who advocated the so-called true democracy in HK. But now, he is the chancellor of Oxford, which needs donations. And, most important, just as he sold his autographed book in the auditorium, he wants to do business with Chinese making use of his special identity.Posted by Picasa

Central HK from peak

The nocturne of Central is one of the most beautiful scene in HK. I took the tram to the Peak, and took the pix. It was so cold there then, that I couldn't concentrate myself on enjoying the scene.Posted by Picasa

the old Police Headquarter of HK

the old Police Headquarter of HK Posted by Picasa

HSBC tower in HK

The cannon located in the top of tower of HSBC, which is said to target its major competitor, Bank of China. It's a well known story about Feng-Shui in Hong Kong.Posted by Picasa

June 4th memorial statue in HKU