Jack Ma Alibaba (1)Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba is in talks to buy a stake in the publisher of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper.  Discussions are at an advanced stage, it quoted two unidentified people familiar with the matter.

If the deal goes ahead, Alibaba founder Jack Ma would become the latest Internet tycoon to step in to take over a traditional newspaper.   Amazon’s Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post in 2013, while Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, bought a majority stake in the New Republic magazine in 2012.  “The motives of these Internet giants are obscure to say the least. It could be influencing public opinion rather than opening a new distribution channel for news and advertising” [independent comment].

Alibaba declined comment on the report when approached by AFP.

The SCMP, founded in 1903 and the city’s main English-language paper, was once the world’s most profitable newspaper on a per reader basis.  The paper has seen an increasing number of readers moving online.   The paper has been controlled since 1993 by Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok, who acquired it from Rupert Murdoch.   The SCMP group also has interests in contract printing, magazines and other businesses.

Source: Economic Times India