Rupert Murdoch gives up on trying to crack the Chinese media market
It is an iron-clad rule of the contemporary business landscape: Invest in China or imperil your future growth. It's noteworthy, then, that one of the most aggressive western companies in terms of trying to crack the China nut is more or less giving up the fight.
21st Century Fox, the film and TV company Rupert Murdoch cleaved from his print-focused News Corp. (NWSA) this summer, is actively reducing its exposure the world's second-largest economy. It's a shocking development only in that Murdoch spent so many years pursuing the China market so enthusiastically. The company is going out guns-a-blazing too. Murdoch's son James, his only child currently employed as a company executive, has criticized the Chinese government for timidity and a lack of commitment to reform.
Why get out now? "It's always been hard for us in the business of ideas to do business in China," the younger Murdoch said during an extensive interview in July at Fortune's annual technology-industry conference, in Aspen, Colo. "We went from the end of the Jiang Zemin regime, which was liberalizing, trying to do all things, to a much more … timid approach to investment and to liberalization. … I don't think a lot of people noticed [the shift] enough. And basically it became harder to do business there."
As a result, 21st Century Fox (FOX) has been busy selling off and selling down investments. . . .