Journalists film outside the headquarters of South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, Jun 13, 2013, after the newspaper published an exclusive interview with Edward Snowden during his stay in the city. [Photo/IC]
E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd announced on Friday a full acquisition of the South China Morning Post－Hong Kong's oldest English-language newspaper－after months of speculation.
Alibaba Group Executive Vice-Chairman Joseph Tsai Chung-hsin, in a letter to SCMP readers on the newspaper's website, said of the buyout: "With an age difference between two companies of nearly 100 years, this is truly a mix of the old and the new". The amount of money involved remained undisclosed.
Tsai said the decade-old paywall for the newspaper audience will be scrapped in order to increase readership.
SCMP Chief Executive Officer Robin Hu Yee Cheng welcomed the deal by endorsing Alibaba's "excellent position to leverage technology to create content more efficiently and reach a global audience".
Tsai also vowed to uphold the editorial independence of the 112-year-old newspaper, saying its day-to-day editorial decisions will be driven by editors in the newsroom.
The SCMP was previously owned by Kerry Media. Buying the SCMP is the first acquisition of overseas media assets for Alibaba.
The agreement combines the heritage and editorial excellence of the SCMP with Alibaba's digital expertise to provide comprehensive and insightful news and analysis of big stories in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland, the press release said.
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