Jack Ma’s Purchase of the SCMP Reflects Hong Kong’s “New Normal”

Everyone Knew This Was Coming

The South China Morning Post was once the world’s most profitable newspaper. While its salad days are long gone, it still represents a beacon of independent news coverage and opinion within China. That may be about to change.

It looks increasingly like Alibaba.com magnate Jack Ma will be purchasing the newspaper. While some have compared the move to the effort by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’ to save the Washington Post, Ma’s interest in purchasing the paper is likely as a favor to the Chinese government, in exchange for easing Ali Baba’s transition into financial services. Former SCMP editor Willly Lam is not optimistic about the paper’s direction:

That said, the SCMP has been gradually moving towards a sympathetic view of the Chinese Communist Party for a while now; some say this started after the paper’s Malaysian owner, Robert Kwok, fired Lam in 2000:

But the Communist Party’s remolding of Hong Kong will still have consequences. If the acquisition turns out to be yet another move to change the complexion of Hong Kong society, it will likely only increase the likelihood that the coming Taiwan elections have an unwelcome result for the Mainland.

Originally published at b-copy.com on Novenmber 30, 2015.