In any language, Forbes means capitalist

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 November, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 November, 1994, 12:00am

AN extra one billion capitalists equals an extra one billion potential readers - that is an equation that is on the minds of two staunch supporters of capitalism, Christopher 'Kip' Forbes, vice-chairman of Forbes Inc, and Caspar Weinberger, chairman of Forbes.

They are the son of the magazine's long-time chairman and a former US secretary of defence, respectively.

Mr Forbes, who handles overseas editions of the magazine, said the company was now selling 3,000 copies of the simplified character version of Forbes in China.

Mr Weinberger said the magazine, the oldest of the major US business publications, had always been a 'vigorous, enthusiastic, vocal advocate of capitalism'.

'For a long time people supporting capitalism felt embarrassed about it. They felt unable to make a big, positive statement. We have never had any worries about that.' Ironically, the two men feel that their philosophy is more appreciated in countries that have experienced strongly socialist systems than in the supposed bastion of free enterprise, the US.

Yet the circulation in China remains dwarfed by the circulation of Forbes Zibenjia in Hong Kong and Taiwan, which has recently changed hands following the change of control at Paramount Printing, the listed company that produces it.

The company claims a circulation of 50,000 for Forbes Zibenjia.

Unlike its biggest rivals Fortune and BusinessWeek , Forbes has elected to expand internationally by taking local partners and using local languages rather than English.

The partners can translate and print articles from the US edition and generate local stories using their own staff.

However, they are expected to carry the flavour and philosophy of their parent.

'It's mostly the philosophy we're pushing,' said Mr Forbes. 'Forbes is synonymous with business.'