There was a surprise in Shanghai last month and it had nothing to do with the terrible 1986 film starring Madonna and thuggish social activist Sean Penn. All eyes were on Hong Kong, which staged its first large IPO in what seemed like ages – we think the last one was when the aforementioned material girl was an actual girl and not like your grandmother in a leotard. But the Hong Kong debut flopped, whereas in Shanghai the surprise in question was the stock market launch of the People’s Daily website, which soared 78% on its first day. The website belongs to the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.
Reporting on its own stock market debut, the People’s website quoted Liao Hong, vice-president and chief executive of People.cn, as saying that the media corporation "has distinguished advantages in its brand, content, audience and customers. It also possesses a number of operational qualifications with high level of market access in the internet industry." While we have absolutely no idea what that means we think straight-talking Ma Li, president of People.cn, had it right, saying the company’s first-day performance could be described as "excellent".