FRIDAY: Press Releases have finally brought some good news for Hong Kong editions of Esquire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, The PEAK, Harper’s Bazaar, owned by the SCMP Group Ltd and South China Morning Post English Newspaper – a remarkable newspaper that for decades has reported aggressively on subjects that China’s state-run media outlets are forbidden to cover like political scandals and human-rights cases. Chinese Internet giant, Alibaba Group Holdings Limited has confirmed its deal for acquiring above mentioned media assets. However, no financial information regarding the deal was disclosed to press.
Deal projects in reshaping media coverage in China byimplementing English Language within its content to expand global horizon of readership.Most of the company executives name this strategy as negative portrayal of China in the English press world, where media freedom is rickety. But the company’s position aligns closely with that of the communists which have grown increasingly critical of the way Western news organizations cover China.
“This is a proposition that is in high demand by readers around the world who care to understand the world’s second largest economy,” Alibaba’s executive vice chairman, Joseph C. Tsai
Big Chinese companies have been investing in media properties at a time when the country’s authorities have been exerting greater control over the state-run news and social networking sites, as well as blocking access to overseas sites like Google and Facebook. The websites of several major news organizations like The New York Times have been blocked in China, amid government criticism that the Western media portrays the country in a negative and unfair way.
The bigger risk is reputational, as Alibaba leaps into the realm of politics. Initially when this deal was proposed, analysts had predicted it to head towards turmoil of political hazard for Mr. Jack Ma and his giant Chinese e-commerce company byshifting the newspaper and media assets from Malaysian ownership domain into Chinese ownership domain.
“Our business is so rooted in China, and touches so many aspects of the Chinese economy, that when people don’t really understand China and have the wrong perception of China, they also have a lot of misconceptions about Alibaba,” – Joseph C. Tsai
As for Alibaba, the financial stakes are not significant i.e. worth US$ 100 million; the deal represents a relatively small amount for a company with more than US$ 12 billion in annual revenue.