FT sale to Japan's Nikkei includes Chinese website

Updated: 2015-07-25 08:08

By Zhang Zhouxiang in London(China Daily)

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FT sale to Japan's Nikkei includes Chinese website
Financial Times

The Financial Times' Chinese-language website, the only non-English FT service, will be included in the package of assets that is being sold to Japanese media group Nikkei, a publicity official has confirmed.

"We will insist on the current editorial policy," said Rhonda Taylor, the FT's communications manager for the Asia-Pacific region. "That applies to both the FT and FT Chinese."

The UK-based business newspaper group posted a table on its micro blog listing all its subsidiaries, including FT Chinese. A footnote said that The Economist and the Russian-language paper Vedomosti are not included in the deal.

Wang Feng, chief editor of FT Chinese, said in an open letter posted on the website that there would be no changes to current editorial policy, and that the FT's core value of "without fear, without favor" remains true.

"Whether we can insist on editorial independence and cling to our core value will decide whether the purchase is successful or not," Wang wrote. "Currently, all indications give us a 'yes' answer."

At a news conference in Tokyo on Friday, Tsuneo Kita, Nikkei's president and CEO, said, "We should not compromise their brand value as we continue to grow their brand."

Nikkei also runs a Chinese-language website that it says aims to provide "important financial news and in-depth analysis of the world, Japan and China".

FT Chinese describes its role as "providing daily indispensable financial news, in-depth analysis and comments for Chinese decision-makers and business elites".

Kita added: "Let us be clear that the editorial independence will be maintained. The FT is going to be the FT - it remains unchanged."

Yu Guoming, vice-dean of the School of Communications at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said the deal is mainly about the restructuring of capital assets.

"It should not bring major changes to the editorial policy of the two sides, at least in the first year or two," Yu said. "FT Chinese is quite influential in China and has the attention of both ordinary readers and the senior leadership. It is not so easy for Nikkei to change that."

The FT will be able to help its new owner push ahead with its shift to digital, a statement on the micro blog said.

"Digital subscribers account for 70 percent of the total for FT, while that for Nikkei is only 13 percent," Wang, from FT Chinese, said in the open letter.

"The growth rate of our digital subscribers far exceeds the declining rate of paper copy subscribers. At a time when paper media withers, that's rare success and the guarantee of business revenue growth."

Cai Chengping, editor of the Japanese financial news bureau of sina.com, said: "For Nikkei, the potential is huge after its acquisition of FT Group. The FT has a more successful globalization strategy compared with Nikkei.

"The FT has been a pioneer in exploring digital media growth and will be greatly beneficial to Nikkei for its domestic digital expansion."

Wang told readers in the final section of his open letter: "As we prepare to celebrate the 10th anniversary of FT Chinese, we witness the power of the market. But we are still the FT Chinese that you are familiar with."

Zhu Wenqian in Beijing contributed to this story.