Companies cannot buy editorial coverage
I saw your paper's piece headlined, 'Alibaba article stirs up storm', on July 25, about the Beijing Youth Daily's bizarre and unfounded attacks on Forbes and Forbes Global. I have attempted to set the record straight with the editor of Beijing Youth Daily, and would like to reiterate to your readers that there is simply no connection whatsoever between our advertising and editorial activities.
Forbes Global's July 24 cover story on Jack Ma and Alibaba.com was an editorial feature initiated some time ago by me. No one on the editorial side knew that a special advertising section aimed at Chinese Internet companies was in the works. Nor did anyone on our advertising side know that the editorial side was planning an article on Mr Ma and Alibaba.
Furthermore, the special advertising section was sold explicitly as an advertising product. There was no room for confusion.
As at the South China Morning Post, so at Forbes and Forbes Global: the editorial and advertising staff work in blissful ignorance of what the other side is up to. A thick and well-maintained wall separates editorial from advertising. We would have demonstrated this to Beijing Youth Daily's reporters had they called us, but they didn't bother to contact us.
It's a curious affair. Perhaps some day we'll get to the bottom of it. But in the meantime, I trust that your influential readership appreciates that Beijing Youth Daily's assertion that companies can buy editorial coverage in Forbes Global (or any Forbes' publication) is entirely groundless.