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MSN Gets a Chinese Mobile Makeover

Microsoft today signed a pact with Chinese investment firm Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. (SAIL) to strengthen its portal credentials in the Asian country.

The Ministry of Information Industry in China approved the venture, which will allow Microsoft to window-dress MSN in China by integrating communications, information and content services.

Expected later this spring, the revamped MSN China will provide advertising opportunities in one of the largest Internet markets, the company said. According to the China Internet Network Information Center, 94 million Chinese were online in 2004, an 8 percent increase over 2003.

In a related move to further window-dress its content, Microsoft said it plans to purchase parts of TSSX, a Chinese mobile software and services company.

The deal will allow Microsoft to provide MSN Mobile products and services to the Chinese market and globally, the company said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will form a China Mobile Development Center, which will be based in Shenzen. TSSX staff will be employed at the center, and it will integrate its technologies and services with MSN Mobile.

"The rapid growth in Internet adoption and mobile device usage in China, along with the exceptional energy and talent of its people, make this one of the most important new markets for MSN," David Cole, senior vice president of MSN at Microsoft, said in a statement.



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