China’s Southern Daily Group’s recent attempt to acquire Newsweek magazine – the country’s first bid for a Western publication – has failed, but the bidder is expecting to make other similar purchases, the publication’s senior management said on Thursday.
“The offer to Newsweek is a volunteer action of Chinese media professionals and investors,” said Xiang Xi, managing editor of Southern Weekly, a weekly owned by the Group, who was granted an exclusive interview with President Obama during his visit to Beijing last November.
“With nine-language versions, Newsweek’s platform with global communication resources and influence is in line with our pursuits.”
The head of China’s most influential weekly denied any government involvement in the investments behind the bid for the Washington Post-owned news weekly.
See also a post from the Sinocism blog:
Moves like this are to be expected. China has an aggressive policy to expand its global soft power, Chinese firms, even print media ones, tend to be cash-rich, and US traditional media firms are increasingly desperate, as Newsweek’s dire finances (and the New York Times’, Forbes’ and BusinessWeek’s) demonstrate.
This failed bid raises at least two obvious questions. First, would the US government even allow a purchase of influential US media assets, dying or not, by Chinese firms? Second, is China wasting time and money trying to expand its soft power through dying media properties?