Time for me to do my homework on this. I’ve been personally less interested in Microsoft online products and services for the past several years, preferring to explore other options. But for understanding Virtual China, understanding MS is a must (as it would be for understanding virtual anywhere).
Did you know that globally, MSN Space had an estimated 100 million (100,000,000) unique visitors per month as of May this year? MSN Space launched in China in June 2005.
A Google search for MSN Space + China yields lots of information on MSN Space censorship and cooperation with Chinese authorities that led to the arrest of bloggers (for example, see 12/2004 BoingBoing post here and 6/2005 GlobalVoicesOnline post here). Not much else on the spaces themselves and what people are doing there.
In Baidu’s press release for BaiduSpace it says: Users are often disappointed by MSN Space’s speed and stability. There are often problems like not being able to open the homepage or not being able to post articles. On some websites where the Live Spaces news was released, user comments showed that they didn’t care much about how advanced the new functionality would be, rather their main concerns were about whether speed and stability would be improved. A user who participated in BaiduSpace’s beta revealed that, compared with other blogging tools he’d used, the most striking thing about BaiduSpace was how fast it was and how little time was needed to upload and download photos.