Two of Shenzhen's largest newspaper firms will merge soon in response to Beijing's call to create larger and stronger media corporations now China has joined the World Trade Organisation. Media sources confirmed the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily and Shenzhen Economic Daily would soon become one commercial entity. 'The merger will start as early as March and will be completed before the middle of the year,' a senior executive of the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily said. A high-level meeting had been held in the city's Yinhu Hotel to discuss the merger, which comes on the heels of the formation of several large media corporations during the past few months. December saw the establishment in Beijing of the China Broadcasting, Film and Television Group, which combines the nation's leading television, radio and movie companies under one roof. In mid-January, the country had 47 media groups, including 26 newspaper groups, eight radio and television groups, six publishing companies, four distribution companies and three movie groups, according to Xinhua. The two Shenzhen newspapers are the mouthpieces of the Communist Party in the Special Economic Zone. Both have similar agendas, often covering their front pages with reports on party and officials' meetings and directives. Shenzhen Special Zone Daily is owned by the Shenzhen Communist Party, while Shenzhen Economic Daily belongs to Shenzhen municipal Government. 'The competition between the two papers has resulted in a waste of public resources and many problems,' said an editor of one of the newspapers. According to industry insiders, Shenzhen Special Zone Daily will remain as the mouthpiece of the party, while Shenzhen Economic Daily will focus on business news. The latter aimed to concentrate on in-depth business analysis and features, similar to the successful Guangzhou-based 21th Century Economic Report, the executive said. The Shenzhen Special Zone Daily is the city's largest revenue generator, with advertising revenue of up to 600 million yuan (HK$558 million) a year, followed by Shenzhen Economic Daily, which has claimed a faster growth. It is hoped the merger will boost the competitiveness of Shenzhen's media industry. Shenzhen Special Zone Daily launched the Crystal News tabloid early this year to compete with the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly, which is increasingly running extensive coverage on Shenzhen. Two other Guangzhou newspapers - Southern Metropolis News and the Guangzhou Daily - have also posted more than 30 employees in Shenzhen.