Net Worthless?

When the internet business was burgeoning like a garden of perennials, one of the brightest blossoms was China. It had the numbers, of course—more than a billion potentially wired Chinese—and a seemingly inexhaustible army of plugged-in, ambitious techies. With oodles of talent (and a xenophobic government that until recently was intent on keeping out foreign players) it seemed certain that China's Internet would be controlled by locals, not outsiders. Well, another bit of New Economy conventional wisdom may be unraveling. China's homegrown portals, the sites Web-crawlers use as their home pages, are slowly bleeding to death. Years from becoming profitable, Sina,...

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