Chinese Newspaper Group Prepares to List

22 July 2004

China's second largest newspaper Beijing Youth Daily is preparing for a stock market listing in Hong Kong later this year, the first Chinese newspaper company to go public.

The offering requires government permission to sell shares overseas, a 'trial policy' as China's Communist party seeks to commercialise the country's media sector.

With up to 25% of shares being made available, the transaction could raise HK$1 billion ($128m; €104m; £70m) for the newspaper group to explore alternative media sectors such as broadcasting and business news.

Wary of relinquishing its control over media content and external involvement, the Chinese government requires management supervision of any private or overseas investment and is limiting this to non-core media operations.

The General Administration of Press and Publication dutifully toed the partyline, refusing comment on the likelihood of direct overseas investment in newspaper operations, claiming "the content of the news publication reform trial is secret".

Beijing Youth Daily also remained coy about the proposed deal. Although no definite date has been given for the listing, sources expect the public offering to be in place by the end of October.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff