A rumor has been going through Chinese media that AOL is coming to China and it is sending job invitations via local job hunters to editors of many Chinese portal websites.
The three other top American Internet service providers, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, have all entered the Chinese market but none have met certain success. Google lags far behind Chinese search engine Baidu.com; Microsoft's MSN and its instant messaging service fail to attract as many fans as China's own QQ; and Yahoo is involved in legal disputes in America over revealing sensitive data about its users to the Chinese government and Yahoo paid Alibaba a hefty fee to manage its website in China.
Earlier this week, AOL launched Chinese websites in Taiwan and Hong Kong. It is yet unknown about the company's detailed plan about entering China, again. Some rumors state that AOL will set up a R&D center in Beijing and will be devoted to mobile communications, Internet technology research and development and online publishing in the country. If this is true, it would mean AOL is coming into the Chinese Internet market very late, and with its American-centric name it might find problems with its brand.
This is not the first time AOL has tried to come to China. Almost ten years ago, AOL purchased a stake in second-tier Chinese website China.com. AOL staff were on the ground in China at the early part of this century also doing research and searching for partners. Ultimately, the company failed to gain even a handhold in the country.