Editor's note: Welcome to the forty-eighth in our regular weekly series of PowerBlog Reviews of business weblogs.
I've watched with great interest the growth in English-language Romanian blogs, especially business blogs. Business Romania is an excellent example of this small but growing number. The blog has been on the air since August of 2004.
Business Romania "writes about the Romanian business landscape, doing business in Romania, investing in Romania business and debating on business issues in Romania." Obviously, the blog is written partly for Romanians who want to keep up on the latest business news and developments, and partly for English-speaking countries that might want to learn more about the country for business purposes.
The blog is a team effort. Mihai Botea founded it and gets contributions by Iulia Stoicescu, Mihai Seceleanu, Cristi Francu, Tudor Montescu and Mircea Boistean.
The founder works for a software and Web design company in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. He says Internet access in Romania today is poor making blogging a bit hard to do. Despite these challenges, blogging in Romania is also fun, he says.
I asked him why there are Romanian business blogs in English, but I can't seem to find a single Polish, Slovenian or Hungarian business blog in English. He says Romanians are early adopters of technology, noting that nearly one third of the population has mobile phones. The Internet is also used extensively in Romania for email, both business and personal.
Romania is in a state of transition. The communist regime ended in 1989 and Romanians are looking forward to entering the European Union in 2007. Some of us in the U.S. and other non-European countries might not appreciate the significance of entering the European Union. For the countries involved, it is a BIG deal. It's the debutante ball of business. It means the opening of markets and lowering of trade barriers, not to mention being an event of enormous symbolism.
One of the best features about this blog is the way it often scoops the Romanian mainstream media. In the U.S., all too many blogs consist primarily of cites to news items already covered by big media with no original commentary -- but not at Business Romania. Mihai says:
"Even though there are business newspapers in Romania, the press cannot always publish all the news. Our blog has been the first one to announce some business movements in Romania that the press could not announce (as they were seen as unofficial rumors at that time) and I think this helped the business community in Romania." It is reader input that keeps this blog thriving. Iulia Stoicescu started out as a reader and from there has become one of the most active contributors. Go Iulia!
The Power: The Power of Business Romania is in the vibrant bridge it creates between Romania and the English-speaking business world in anticipation of entrance into the European Union. And talk about citizen journalism! It provides original business reporting on news items not covered by the media in that country. What a powerful use of the blog medium combined with business purposes.