Tencent, Baidu, Alibaba Group are probably TOP 3 Internet entities in China given the fact they all more or less reach all the sectors of web business, instant messengers, portals, e-commerce, search etc. Sina is huge, there is no doubt that it’s the leading Chinese portal, but you would not say it’s in the same line with those three giants. However, since 11st Nov, 2010, the setup of Chinese Internet might start changing: Sina Corp. announced strategic partnership with MSN China.

The situation for MSN China is not that good. MSN Live Spaces is closing down; MSN messenger is taking the No.2 in IM marketing, but the room for its growth seems shrinking; and the portal service cn.msn.com is in a dilemma in China. In comparison, Sina as the leading online media portal and blog service provider is growing fast and even much more stronger than before, huge thanks to its microblog service which is absolutely changing Chinese netizen’s online life.

Let’s have a brief breakdown of the partnership.

  • Sina Blog – Sina will the exclusive partner of Windows Live Spaces in China. Blogs hosted on Live Spaces can be easily exported to Sina blog; With Messenger Connect open platform, the update on Sina blog can be synchronized on Live Messenger and other Windows Live services; Users will be able to log on Sina Blog with its Windows Live ID;
  • Sina Microblog – Via Messenger Connect open platform, updates on Sina Microblog will can be synchronized on Live Messenger and other Windows Live services; In future, users would be able to see others MSN online status on Sina Microblog and even chat with their MSN contacts on Sina Microblog;
  • Portal service (Sina.com.cn, cn.MSN.com) – News on sina.com.cn can be easily shared with users’ MSN contacts by one click; news on cn.msn.com can be shared to Sina microblog easily by just one click; Sina and MSN China will be working closely to launch Finance & Life related online channel together;
  • Mobile – MSN mobile user can sign on and update his Sina microblog with his MSN ID.

Of course both parties will benefit from the partnership. But I still feel the big winner is Sina. For MSN China, it’s more like a protective strategy to stabilize its IM market share; On Sina side, it sounds more aggressive. Sina actually has its own instant messenger called SinaUC for years, but it did not really work out till now. On SinaUC official page, it’s interesting to see that users can download either SinaUC or Live Messenger. So the question is, with very close relationship with MSN and Sina service (blog, microblog, news portal), plus its own SinaUC, will Sina become another tough enemy of Tencent?!