China's Internet Gold Rush

The world's most populous country prepares for a revolution

Early in 1998, William Ding, then 26, took a bet on his future. After four years of writing software in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, he had saved $60,000--enough to pay for him to study at Stanford. China's Internet was then in its infancy, with fewer than 1 million users. But he sensed it was about to explode, and decided to stay in China and set up his own Internet company, Netease.com

The bet has paid off--so far. Netease.com is one of the top portals in China. With free e-mail, news, auctions and a job site,...

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