Why did Jack Ma acquire South China Morning Post?
The acquisition of the 113-year-old Hong Kong English-language newspaper South China Morning Post (SCMP) by the founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma is to change the vision and direction of the Post. In fact, SCMP often had biased, imbalance and preconceptions news which mislead thousands of readers before the acquisition. Therefore, he wishes to offer a more objective, fair and balanced news site so that readers will not draw conclusions based on distorted facts or biased information.
SCMP has become free to access in both mobile and online editions after Alibaba’s acquisition in 2015 in a bit to transform the Post into a global media agency. As a Chinese e-commerce company with the world’s biggest online trading platform, Alibaba poses rich resources such as big-data and cloud technology to analyses massive data to provide powerful insight in China. Jack Ma wishes to provide a more comprehensive and accurate report compares to other medias without such resources. In addition, after SCMP has became free to access, readers from walks of life and different countries can easily access the news written by editors from different perspective. Thus, his goal is to open up the most comprehensive and credible news site on China to the rest of the world and pave the way of SCMP to grow readership globally.
Jack Ma also stressed the importance of being fair to readers. In fact, Chinese citizens have the right to know what happened in China in a factual and objective way in an attempt to get a full picture of different situations. Thus, to let readers have critical thinking after reading the opinions from a more diverse perspectives, the Post aims at offering reports on China in a broader and deeper way instead of reporting something with preconceptions or prejudice which could possibly mislead readers. While people mostly look things merely from western or eastern perspective, this enables the Post to have a narrative on China without censorship and is different from both the mainstream Western and Chinese state media.
Consolidating freedom of press in Hong Kong is another reason for Jack Ma to invest in SCMP. He regards Hong Kong as a highly transparent, just and cosmopolitan city under “One country, two systems”. Enjoying the best location, Hong Kong can share the prosperity from China’s economic growth and access the western culture. Yet, Hong Kong encounters a decline in freedom of press and losing its direction after the breakout of several incidents such as the knife attack on Kevin Lau, the journalist of Ming Pao in recent years. The locals have gradually lost its confident and uniqueness in diversity of the city. Through the mature technology and human interaction using digital media, Alibaba have made SCMP more highly accessible to both the West and the East to adapt the reading habits of the readers. Thus, Jack Ma would like to maintain the competitiveness and critical role of China in the world politics and economy through providing insightful and trustworthy news and commentaries.
All in all, the acquisition of SCMP by Jack Ma is to change the direction of the Post and help Hong Kong to regain its trust in media and newspaper so that readers can get a more comprehensive and objective insight to make a fair judgement.