Alibaba-owned English Daily SCMP Dismisses Reports That Chinese Government Company Is Acquiring It

by Swarajya Staff - Nov 6, 2021 01:17 PM +05:30 IST
Alibaba-owned English Daily SCMP Dismisses Reports That Chinese Government Company Is Acquiring ItPRS Wire
Snapshot
  • The South China Morning Post, a nominally independent English daily published out of Hong Kong and owned by Alibaba Group Holdings, has dismissed speculation that is a target of acquisition by a Chinese government-backed company.

    As Hong Kong’s leading English-language newspaper, The South China Morning Post is still allowed to report on issues and topics that are completely censored out in mainland China. After Alibaba acquired it, the paper is extremely guarded when it comes to reporting and commentary on Mainland China.

The South China Morning Post, a nominally independent English daily published out of Hong Kong and owned by Alibaba Group Holdings, has dismissed speculation that is a target of acquisition by a Chinese government-backed company.

On Friday (Nov 5), Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that Bauhinia Culture (Hong Kong) Holdings Ltd, a news publishing company owned by the Chinese government, was working on an offer to acquire the 118-year-old English language newspaper.

As Hong Kong’s leading English-language newspaper, The South China Morning Post is still allowed to report on issues and topics that are completely censored out in mainland China. After Alibaba acquired it, the paper is extremely guarded when it comes to reporting and commentary on Mainland China.

Founded in 1903, SCMP is headquartered in Hong Kong, where it is the widely regarded as city-state's newspaper of record. SCMP is also one of Asia's leading magazine publisher with a portfolio of premium lifestyle and fashion titles including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Esquire, Harper's BAZAAR and The PEAK.

Reports had earlier emerged that Alibaba, whose founder Jack Ma had has been completely marginalised for criticising China's financial watchdogs last year, was facing pressure from the Chinese government to divest some of its media assets, including the SCMP ,YouTube-like streaming platform Youku Tudou, entertainment company Huayi Brothers and video-sharing site Bilibili.

Nikkei reported that SCMP CEO Gary Liu informed his staff he had been asked by SCMP Chairman and Alibaba co-founder Joseph Tsai to convey a message that no sale was being planned.

"There has never been any discussion about SCMP's ownership, and Alibaba has no plans for any change. There's no basis for any rumor or speculation," Liu wrote to the newspaper staffers.

In 2015, Jack Maa's Alibaba Holdings acquired The South China Morning Post and other media assets of SCMP Group Ltd in a $266 million deal.

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