Murdoch's latest initiative was to partner with local Chinese media to operate a prime-time television channel there. Well, apparently this was a touchy subject with Chinese authorities. After all, the country does have its own Culture Ministry. While capitalism flourishes, the Communist Chinese government is still trying hard to control the airwaves. And according to a Wall Street Journal article, Murdoch has decided to shelve the plan -- at least for now.
This is bad news for other global media organizations, such as Disney and Viacom. There's no doubt that Murdoch understands global media -- he started investing in China more than 10 years ago. If he can't win a deal there, chances are slim that others will.
However, China may be taking an "old school" view of media. The Internet has become a key media outlet -- and it's much harder to control -- yet China appears to be much more willing to allow Western investment in Internet media properties. For example, Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation eBay
Murdoch, meanwhile, is no stranger to investing in cyberspace. On his recent spending tear, he plunked down $580 million in cash to buy the hip Internet property Intermix Media, which controls the social networking site MySpace.com. He also spent $92 million for realestate.com.au, a major real estate listing site based in Australia. And his shopping binge isn't done yet; Murdoch plans to spend as much as $2 billion to acquire Internet assets.
A key part of any Web strategy, clearly, is an investment in China. And maybe that explains Murdoch's recent interest in the Internet. In the end, if other avenues close, the online world might ultimately become his way to increase his presence in China.
Fool contributor Tom Taulli does not own shares of the companies mentioned in this article.