Why did Jack Ma buy SCMP?
On 11th December 2015, Alibaba used two billion HKD to purchase South China Morning Post. This action allows Alibaba to expand the number of media companies to 25, which is a tool to improve its public relations.
In addition, in terms of commercial aspects, Alibaba is discovering more and more Big Data mode. Alibaba possesses the most comprehensive and consummate internet commercial exchange Big Data with supreme Big Data analysis committee. Jack Ma is trying to merge Big Data and media together in order to develop greater economic and business value. With purchasing the SCMP, it means the expansion of effect with fully utilizing numerical data knowledge to transform English newspaper and media global effect. This is a good way to improve the image of China by providing other perspectives to global readers.
According to Jack Ma himself, he wanted to use SCMP as a tool to make the world to understand about China more comprehensively. He wants SCMP to become an international media with utilizing Alibaba’s technology and resources. By utilizing the resources possessed by Alibaba in China and Asia market, this can make the whole world to have a better understanding about Asia and China, acting as a bridge between Eastern and Western countries.
Most readers from other countries are having too much misunderstanding towards China as they did not get accurate, broad and in-depth analysis and signals. Jack Ma stated that it is necessary to be fair to all readers in order to let them have the right to comprehend a more objective and comprehensively real China. The role of SCMP is to help readers to have a better understanding about China and Eastern ideologies as Eastern and Western countries have different cultural and ideological background. This is a good way for them to communicate and learn about the intentions of both sides.
Most importantly, Jack Ma said that he would not participate in the editorial directions and decision but give suggestions to the operation modes in terms of economic operation and the newspaper’s future. This can reduce the probability of self-censorship or corporation censorship to the press in order to protect the press freedom in Hong Kong.
Moreover, the press nature in Hong Kong is quite different from that in mainland China. For example, sensitive issues must not be mentioned in China as the press freedom in mainland is greatly limited as there are many ideological margins, self-censorship and state-intervention leading to censorship. However, geographical advantages, elite education, highly-developed service industry and the nature of “One Country Two Systems” are the specific superiority of Hong Kong. Additionally, the nature of “Diversity” of Hong Kong, e.g. cultural diversity, cultural tolerance, etc., is also essential for Ma’s decision.
On the other hand, Alibaba has already owned media at its early developing stage, e.g. Youku, Beijing Enlight Media Co., etc., and also series of fashion, tourist and lifestyle-related magazine. It shows that Alibaba has great advantage and combinations in internet technology and media. It is possible that he made use of scientific technology to improve media content to greater extent and make it even stronger. Also, this can help spreading the media all over China with an even greater expansion.
To conclude, the reason for Jack Ma to buy SCMP is due to commercial, economic and political aspects of the image of China.