China is aiming to take six major publications worldwide in an effort to spread Chinese influence and around the globe. The new project will help disconnect news agencies from government influence to compete on their own in a global marketplace. This comes as many US based and international publications struggle to produce profits in an industry riddled with debt, slumping advertising revenue and dropping readership.
A Change with Time
Previously, only state owned publishers were allowed to print books and other forms of media. In time, this changed, with several privately owned companies printing best sellers in China. Public opinion over freedom of the press in China has favored private owners and operators, and now private companies are dominating publicly owned print shops.
A Long-term Project
The Chinese government hopes to have the first companies introduced in three to five years; however, the process of separating government industry into private hands proves difficult. By 2010, China hopes to have made the chosen six or seven agencies private companies by listing them on the stock exchange. Beijing won’t completely release the reigns to free enterprise, however, as much of the publicly listed stock will be owned by the government.
A New Hope for Battered Industry?
As newspapers struggle to fend off free media primarily on the internet, China’s ambitious project will rely on much the same business model. Advertising dollars, which dried up with the recession, will have to feed the new project and subsequent international media opportunities. It does not seem that the Chinese government is looking to produce profits; instead, this looks like an acknowledgement that some businesses do indeed need economic freedom to be successful.