If you want to be entertained, and at the same time stay up with the latest gossip inside China's Internet and venture scene, tune in with Chinawhite, the new blog of Shakil Khan.
This is going to be an interesting ride, literally. Last month, Search Engine Watch's Danny Sullivan introduced us to Khan, a 31-year-old Brit who was just about to fly to Shanghai to begin a new journey. He has just arrived there, and is already filling us in with some of the latest Internet VC news -- including the $10 million investment by Silicon Valley VC David Cowan and others into Chinese blog portal, Bokee.
Before he left, we grabbed a drink with him in San Jose. Khan was a precocious player...
...in the UK search industry, though had an early rocky history. He started selling phones in the late 1990s from a London store. In 2000, he launched SMSboy.com, which allowed you to send free text messages to any phone across Europe. He relied on advertising to pay for the service, so when the ad market crashed after the bubble burst, he lost his home, car and everything else, he told us. He gained more early experience with search in 2001, when he started selling "viagra" and other pharma ads -- legally -- beside the search results of Overture, and later other search engines. When the UK government cracked down on the practices in 2003, though, he ended up losing his shirt again, he said.
So in 2004, he traveled the world, and when he landed in China about seven months ago, he fell for it. "It nagged on me," he told us over our drink, explaining how he was compelled to go back. It was like, "I was made for China, and China was made for me." So Khan is back out there for a six-month test mission, where he wants to become a man on the ground for Silicon Valley VCs or companies who are looking for alliances or joint ventures which Chinese players. His slogan: "Have credit card, will travel!" He's printed out business cards with three phone numbers, one each for London, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. And he plans to exploit his global connections in the search industry, and will moderate a panel session during the search engine conference in Shanghai Nov. 16.
If you met Khan, you'd understand. He is quite the social networker, and he's the kind who might just thrive in China's hectic tech scene right now. Khan starts his blog: "China - Here I come ...
So here I am sitting at Heathrow Airport, about to embark on a journey, which 9 months ago would have seemed the craziest idea in the world..." On his first weekend, he is already going out with the "Madonna of China." (You may, or may not, want to click on the "more photos" link he provides).
Chinawhite is a play on words. We'll let you figure out what it means.
Danny has a mention here, referring to another Shak news alert, about Google Local in China.
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