The Shanghai Evening Post will stop publishing at the end of this month, increasing pressure on municipal officials to bail out local print media squeezed by soaring costs and fierce competition from internet portals.
"We all feel sad and cold," said an official with Shanghai United Media Group (SUMG), the parent of the Shanghai Evening Post.
"It's an open secret that nearly all print media in Shanghai are either posting losses or likely to be losing money soon."
According to three SUMG sources, staff at the paper were told of the closure at a meeting yesterday afternoon.
SUMG was created two months ago through the merger of the Jiefang Daily Group and the Wenhui-Xinmin United Press Group, the two largest commercially run newspaper groups in Shanghai.
The merger was aimed at reducing costs amid worsening business performance.
It had been speculated that the Shanghai Evening Post, one of two major evening papers in the city, would bear the brunt of cost-cutting strategies and be closed to bolster its cross-town rival, the Xinmin Evening News.
It was not known how many employees would lose their jobs after the closure, as SUMG officials have said they would rearrange part of the workforce, including journalists and salespeople, to take other posts within the group.
Ironically, the Shanghai Evening Post was established in 2000 as a way for the local party propaganda department to take on the Xinmin Evening News, which was highly profitable then thanks to its market monopoly.
SUMG, with more than 30 print-media products, is expected to report a loss.
According to sources, SUMG is mulling a plan to relocate all editorial employees to a new office previously owned by Jiefang in the suburban Xinzhuang area, while three high-rises owned by the new group will be leased out to generate revenue.