Alibaba has agreed to acquire Hong Kong’s flagship English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Put up, the most politically delicate acquisition by the e-commerce large to day.
Alibaba and SCMP Group Ltd announced on Friday that the Hangzhou-dependent business would buy the 112-yr-old newspaper and other media houses for an undisclosed quantity.
The purchase, which follows a string of media discounts by Alibaba, is likely to elevate concerns in Hong Kong, exactly where the South China Morning Put up occupies an critical position amid the English-talking elite who nonetheless dominate the previous British colony.
Chinese-language dailies may possibly be more influential than the Post, but adjustments in its editorial course are seen as a barometer for push flexibility underneath Chinese rule.
Alibaba has acquired or invested in a developing portfolio of media and material businesses in latest several years.
“The SCMP has iconic standing in the region, with a strong popularity internationally for the high quality and trustworthiness of its journalism over the many years,” Joe Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group, said in a letter to SCMP audience.
“Like several print media, nevertheless, the SCMP faces difficulties amid the spectacular alterations in the way news is reported and dispersed. But these modifications play to Alibaba’s strengths, which is why we believe the two firms complement each and every other well.”
New proprietors seek out to tackle considerations about independence
Alibaba chairman Jack Ma is no stranger to controversy at the newspaper.
In 2013, a reporter for the Publish give up after quoting Mr Ma as getting made remarks in assistance of Beijing’s violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Mr Ma denied at the time that he had made these kinds of an assertion.
Mr Tsai sought to address worries about editorial independence in his letter.
“In reporting the information, the SCMP will be aim, exact and honest… day-to-day editorial decisions will be pushed by editors in the newsroom, not in the corporate boardroom.”
Nevertheless, some SCMP personnel associates stated the takeover was unlikely to have much effect above the publication’s articles, and greeted the information with resignation.
“The SCMP has not had an editorial equilibrium for more than a 10 years. We do not believe that will change underneath a mainland Chinese operator,” mentioned an editor who has worked at the newspaper for much more than a ten years.
Friday’s settlement includes SCMP Group’s other media assets, such as licenses to the Hong Kong editions of Esquire, Elle, Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar.
Monetary phrases of the deal ended up not disclosed.
Subject areas: print-media, info-and-conversation, media, industry, china, hong-kong