Condé Nast targets China

10 November 2009

BEIJING: Condé Nast, the magazine publishing giant, is aiming to expand the scale of its activities in China, as it seeks to drive growth during a period in which print circulations are slowing in many developed markets.

Following a recent review of its operations conducted by McKinsey, the management consultancy, Condé Nast announced it would fold four of its titles in the US, in the form of Gourmet, Cookie, Elegant Bride and Modern Bride.

More positively, it launched a local variant of GQ, its male lifestyle monthly, in China last week, and is in optimistic mood about its prospects in the world's most populous nation going forward.

"In emerging markets like China ... the magazine business and magazine development continue to go very strong," said Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of its international unit.

"We would very much like to produce new magazines in partnership with Chinese partners and we are working in that direction."

The American firm has already introduced versions of titles including Vogue and Self in China, a move which has helped improve its worldwide circulation over the last five years.

However, the authorities in the rapidly-developing economy must approve any new publication, and multinational firms are also required to form alliances with firms based in the BRIC economy.

Cao Wei Ming, managing director of Condé Nast China, also argued that, at present, the company is not profitable in the Asian country.

He added that Condé "is looking at really long-term profit potential" in China, with a timeframe of "five-to-ten years" in terms of moving into the black.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff