Ex-Caijing editor takes helm of rival publication

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 December, 2009, 12:00am

Former Caijing editor Hu Shuli has teamed up with a leading think tank to launch a new magazine amid intense competition in the business publication market.

The weekly - which hit news-stands as a trial issue today, with a cover story about looming inflation in China - is a revamp of News Magazine, a current-affairs publication launched by the Hainan-based China Institute for Reform and Development in October 1988.

The renowned reform think tank said yesterday it had appointed Hu as editor-in-chief of News Magazine and former Caijing editorial editor Yang Daming as her deputy.

The weekly is designated as a current-affairs magazine, but is expected to have a strong focus on business reporting as most of Hu's team - working at a downtown Beijing office under the name of Caixin Media - are former staff of Caijing, one of the mainland's top publications known for its stinging investigative reports.

The weekly is the first publication that Hu's team has launched as part of an ambitious multimedia platform she envisaged after her high-profile departure from the fortnightly Caijing, which she helped create nearly 12 years ago. Hu left Caijing in November amid simmering differences with its owner and publisher, the Stock Exchange Executive Council, which is led by former Wall Street banker Wang Boming .

Hu took up the post as dean of Sun Yat-sen University's School of Communication and Design on December 18. But Heidi Zhang, public relations chief at Caixin Media, said Hu had been given a 'transition period' by the university to spend more time on the new magazine, which was to be renamed Century Weekly from the next issue.

Zhang said Hu would likely contribute columns on a regular basis, as she did at Caijing.

Former Caijing managing editor Wang Shuo had been assigned to oversee daily operations at the magazine, and Hu's team trialled several internal issues before the soft launch, Zhang said.

She refused to divulge details about the magazine's ownership structure or financial backers. However, it was understood that the Zhejiang Daily Press Group is a major backer.

Zhang also refused to provide details on the online division of Caixin Media, which Hu has long been eyeing. The online division will be up and running along with the next issue of the magazine, which is due out on January 11.

The launch of the new magazine comes just days after the official news agency, Xinhua, launched a new business weekly, the National Financial Weekly, with a preliminary investment of 50 million yuan (HK$57 million).

News Magazine, which published three issues a month, was little known on the mainland, but Beijing Foreign Studies University media professor Zhan Jian expected advertisers to take great interest in the new venture, given Hu's status in the industry and the accomplishments of Caijing under her.

'But its success will hinge upon how Hu Shuli and the magazine's publisher came to agree, and if the publisher could keep their pledge on editorial independency,' Zhan said.