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Monday, July 31, 2006 

The Future of Hong Kong Economic Journal

Update August 09, 2006: Richard Li has secured 50 percent stake in Hong Kong Economic Journal. "Li, through his private company Clermont Media, reached a binding agreement with the three founders of HKEJ - publisher Lok Yau-mui, her husband Lam Shan-luk and columnist Cho Chi-ming - to form a new venture called Newco. The two parties will each own half of the shareholding in the newspaper." HKEJ publisher Lok Yau-mui told the Standard that: "As part of the agreement, all our existing staff will be offered employment [and] we will ensure the editorial style and independence, which we have built up over all these years, will be rigorously maintained".

After weeks of rumors in the market, today comes the news that "PCCW chairman Richard Li Tzar-kai has reached an agreement in principle to buy the Hong Kong Economic Journal for HK$280 million", according to The Standard, citing on sources who told Eastweek magazine, a sister publication of the Standard.
"Li will have a say over advertisements, accounts and administration, while the editorial will still be managed by a group of staff led by Lam [Shan-muk]" founder and chairman of the paper.

For his part, Lam has agreed to continue contributing to the newspaper with his "Political and Economic Review" column. The newspaper's director, Cho Chi-ming, has also promised to continue contributing his "Inve
stors' Diary" column.


"Li has also arranged for former TVB general manager Chan Hing-cheung to prepare for the paper's future editorial direction. He is planning to list HKEJ and make more media acquisitions, the sources said.

According to the sources, Li plans to make HKEJ the Financial Times of Hong Kong. He will combine the newspaper with his dot-com business to build the most influential financial newspaper in the Greater China area."

I remember reading a comment somewhere that says the deal will mark an end to the Chinese tradition of "newspaper run by literati" (文人辦報)in Hong Kong. I can only hope the paper will still be able to maintain its high standard in its editorial and its outspoken character.

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