Time Warner seeks partners for mainland

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 February, 2006, 12:00am

US giant plans to publish local editions of four magazines

Time Warner is seeking publishing partners in China to license the mainland editions of a number of its titles, according to an industry source.

Time, the magazine unit of the largest United States media conglomerate, plans to export four titles to China - lifestyle magazine In Style, entertainment and celebrity magazine People, news weekly Time Magazine's Time Style & Design and children's English learning title Time For Kids.

Several Hong Kong and mainland publishers, such as Li Ka-shing's media arm Tom Group, mainland business magazine publisher SEEC Media and One Media Group have already been in talks with Time Warner.

The source said no agreement had been reached. However, a deal to publish In Style was nearing completion.

Time's Popular Science is already published in a simplified Chinese version with Hong Kong-listed One Media, the magazine unit of Ming Pao Enterprise Corp.

'Time Warner wants to have more exposure on the mainland but the pace of progress is slow,' said an industry source. 'Due to the enormous scale of Time's magazine operations, the Chinese government may take a conservative view on allowing the titles into the country.'

Richard Parsons, the chairman and chief executive of Time Warner, last year in Hong Kong said that China was a tough market to crack.

It is illegal for foreign-funded magazines to be published and distributed on the mainland without a local partner.

The foreign publisher can license part of the content to its local partner and revamp the magazine's style and design to suit local tastes but the editorial team should be wholly mainland-based.

'We are optimistic about our possible development in China,' Time Magazine president and worldwide publisher Edward McCarrick said yesterday.

Time Style & Design and Time For Kids are expected to finalise deals with local publishers for the simplified Chinese edition this year.

'We hope the titles can be debuted in the first quarter next year,' said Mr McCarrick, adding that the content of both titles was less controversial than Time magazine. 'It is a wonderful opportunity for us to bridge the relationship between China and US readers.'

Long story

Beijing requires foreign publishers to take local partners

Time Warner hopes to launch local titles early next year

Tom Group is among firms in discussion with Time Warner