Rupert’s Adventures in China: How Murdoch Lost a Fortune and Found a Wife – Bruce Dover


From The Economist:

FAR earlier than many, Rupert Murdoch sensed that China might be a unique financial prize. Even on his first visit in the mid-1980s, with his then wife, Anna, and their school-age children, the Australian news magnate dined with the leadership.

For much of the next 20 years, Mr Murdoch tried to conquer China. His initial aim was to create a satellite television network that would absorb a share of the advertising, now estimated at about $50 billion a year, that was sold on state-owned news media. The Chinese encouraged him and then pulled back. Ultimately they outmanoeuvred him, beating him at his own game. Mr Murdoch hoped that the more he invested, the sooner satellite dishes would be sprouting from every Chinese rooftop. But satellite dishes are still regulated, even if not as strictly as they once were.

Bruce Dover, an Australian, was Mr Murdoch’s man in Beijing until 1998. He has written a rare insider’s account of how the Chinese got the better of a businessman who usually gets what he wants. Mr Murdoch felt that if only he could meet President Jiang Zemin all would be fine, Mr Dover writes. Eventually, Mr Murdoch did get to spend time with the president; quite a bit of it, in fact. They got on well. Mr Murdoch treated the Chinese leader, a film fan, to an exclusive screening of “Titanic”, which had been made by Mr Murdoch’s 20th Century Fox. [Full Text]


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