Joint-venture paper planned

SHENZHEN authorities are planning to launch a daily newspaper with a Hongkong partner, government spokesman Mr Huang Xinhua said.

''We are prepared to strengthen exchange and co-operation with overseas news media,'' Mr Huang said yesterday.

If the plan went ahead, it would be the first joint-venture newspaper in China. Mr Huang said the paper would focus on economic news at first.

One of the arrangements under consideration was to set up a separate organisation under the municipal government to take part in the project, he said.

Mr Huang would not confirm speculation he would be appointed head of this organisation.

He said talks were underway with several Hongkong newspapers, but a final decision had yet to be made.

A Hongkong-based conglomerate has recently reached an agreement with a subsidiary of the People's Daily to publish a joint-venture magazine.

Meanwhile, the Taiwanese newspaper United Daily News has quoted a senior Chinese official as saying that news units on both sides of the Taiwan Strait could jointly launch a publication.

The proposal was put forward by Mr Wang Daohan, chairman of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, to the president of the Taipei-based China Society of Journalists, Chu Song-chui.

Mr Wang, a former Shanghai mayor, said a neutral and general interest publication would enhance understanding between the two sides.

On the requests by Taiwan newspapers to start news bureaus and publish mainland editions, Mr Wang said the timing was not yet right.

Last October, the Shanghai-based Liberation Daily agreed to set up a joint-venture business magazine with Taiwan's China Times.

The China Times group has also signed an agreement with the NCNA to provide news about Taiwan's economy to major Chinese cities.