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MySpace China reportedly slashes staff and CEO

MySpace Logo (Nov 2010)

It’s no secret that former social networking powerhouse has seen better days, and that the operation is under pressure from parent News Corp to turn its finances around or face drastic measures. Any new job cuts at MySpace are expected to land first in the company’s international operations, and today multiple reports indicate MySpace China has said goodbye to its CEO and the majority of its staff, with as few as a dozen people still on board. According to TechWeb (Chinese), a total of 30 employees were laid off, other reports indicate as few as four people may remain with the operation.

MySpace China has never been a major force in the Chinese social networking market, billing itself as more of a destination for digital music enthusiasts than as a social networking service. Unlike many of MySpace’s international operations, however, MySpace China is a separately owned and managed company; MySpace’s efforts in Japan are a joint venture, rather than an operation wholly-owned by News Corp. Rumors have circulated for the last few weeks that MySpace China has been looking for a buyer.

Back in 2009, MySpace laid off about two-thirds of its international staff; however, the Chinese and Japanese operations were not impacted.

At first blush, MySpace might seem to have had an opportunity to gain traction in China, even focusing solely on music fans. Although MySpace has been hammered by competition from the likes of Facebook and Twitter in North America and many international markets, both Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China. However, industry watchers say MySpace China has generally been unable to compete with Chinese social networking sites and services, and was never able to build up any significant market share.