China’s Xinhua to merge three newspapers into new media group

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 January, 2017, 8:33am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 January, 2017, 11:17pm

China’s Xinhua News Agency will hive off three of its most influential newspapers and a publishing house into a new media group as Beijing tries to transform its propaganda assets into profitable publications.

The new unit, called China Fortune Media Group, will be launched on January 19 and encompass the China Securities Journal, the Shanghai Securities News, Economic Information Daily and the Xinhua Publishing House, Xinhua said in a statement on Wednesday.

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The Communist Party has a strict media licensing system and treats newspapers and journals as ideological tools.

But its state-run newspapers are struggling with falling revenues and readership as Chinese increasingly turn to the internet for news.

One of the most recent casualties was the Beijing Times, a publication under party mouthpiece People’s Daily which closed at the start of the year.

The Oriental Morning Post, published in Shanghai, was also shut down at the end of last year and its editorial staff reassigned to its digital news portal, Thepaper.cn.

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The two securities newspapers under Xinhua are the designated publications for information disclosure by listed firms, guaranteeing a steady revenue.

Economic Information Daily mainly covers economic policy stories.

By creating the media group, Xinhua is paving the way for future listing of the unit.

Xinhuanet.com, the news agency’s online news arm, went public in Shanghai last year, raising 1.5 billion yuan (HK$1.67 billion). People.cn, the website of the People’s Daily, listed in early 2012.