The news came recently that Novell will be developing a cloud-computing platform with Tencent, China's largest Internet service provider. As part of the deal, the two companies will establish a research laboratory in Shenzen, China that will be used to develop the data center network that will serve as the cloud platform.

These kinds of deals often seem distant as our knowledge of China's Internet community is a bit limited. But sometimes news comes out that provides a whole new insight.

That's exactly what happened this week when China Computerworld dropped the F-bomb on Tencent in an article and featured the company's mascot bleeding from knife wounds.

Whoa! And we thought the media here can be tough.

The article stems from Tencent's controversial place in the market. It has been accused of imitating its rivals then bullying them out of the market.

Danwei.org, posted an English version of the story. Here's an excerpt:

"Tencent is never the first to eat crab' [to try out new things]. It looks for a space in a mature markets to shove its way in. However, the methods it chooses also invite controversy: imitation, sometimes unscrupulous 'shanzhai' copying.

As early as 2006, Sina founder Wang Zhidong openly accused [Tencent founder] Ma Huateng of being the industry's 'plagiarism king,' and of brazen plagiarism at that. Similar voices have been heard in the years since. Most recently, Data Center of the China Internet (DCCI) director Hu Yanping questioned Tencent's creative abilities, saying that it was not an outstanding innovator, and was actually the mortal enemy of innovation among smaller Internet enterprises."

And of course, Tencent had its own rebuttal:

"However, the China Computerworld feature story, without conducting any interviews with Tencent, used crude language against a responsible enterprise and used a disgusting illustration to damage our trademark and corporate image, creating an extremely adverse reaction and rudely hurting the feelings of the vast numbers of ordinary Tencent users. We strongly condemn this action and reserve the right to take legal action to protect our rights."

The article does not mention Tencent's new cloud initiative. But it still is an interesting perspective about a company that rivals in size any hosting provider around the globe.

It also reflects on the challenges that a foreign company faces when partnering with a major Chinese corporation that without a doubt has its own enemies watching its every move.