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Copies of the South China Morning post on a news rack in Hong Kong. Photo: EPA

Trust us, says Jack Ma when asked about SCMP editorial independence

Alibaba
STAFF

Alibaba chairman Jack Ma has promised to preserve the editorial independence of the , which is among a portfolio of media assets he has bought recently.

Commenting for the first time since his e-commerce flagship spent HK$2.06 billion for the 112-year-old English-language daily and related media assets under the umbrella of SCMP Group last week, Ma said there was no basis to think the newspaper would lose its editorial independence after the change of ownership.

He was quoted by yesterday, on the sidelines of the World Internet Conference in Zhejiang, asking why people thought the would lose its independence if Alibaba owned it.

"Trust us," he said.

When asked about critics who said Alibaba felt pressure from mainland leaders to modify the 's coverage, he said: "Those people think too little of us."

Jack Ma at the World Internet Conference. Photo: Reuters

On suggestions whether Alibaba's decision to buy the newspaper was a request by the mainland authorities, he said: "I have always encountered speculation from other people. If I had to bother about what other people speculated about, how would I get anything done?"

He has yet to meet with any SCMP executives to discuss bringing its content to the mainland, but he said: "The crucial thing is to let them know in their hearts that they have an independent platform and they can have their own beliefs."

He added: "In our hands, it should get even more respect and attention and not be persecuted."

In addition to the , Alibaba agreed on December 11 to buy other titles such as the and related mobile apps, and the two Chinese websites, Nanzao.com and Nanzaozhinan.com.The acquisition also included a selection of magazine titles, such as HK Magazine and the Hong Kong editions of Esquire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, The Peak and Harper's Bazaar.

The deal also included recruitment, outdoor media, events and conferences, and education businesses.

Completion of the deal is expected in March as SCMP Group is due to release a detailed document on the deal on, or before, February 28.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Trust us, says Jack Ma when asked about SCMP editorial independence
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