Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba may be eyeing to make yet another large investment in the media sector. According to China Daily, the Jack Ma-led company is in talks to invest in Hong Kong-based SCMP Group, which owns the South China Morning Post. Though the SCMP Group declined to comment on market rumors, the newspaper posted a message about the report on its verified account on microblogging site Weibo.
Newsroom shakeup at the SCMP
The SCMP newspaper is set to undergo a massive newsroom shake-up. Its current editor-in-chief Wang Xiangwei is leaving. He will be replaced by his deputy Tammy Tam on January 1, 2016. Almost three dozen staff members have already left the company. Citing unnamed sources, China Daily claimed that Alibaba may even go for an outright purchase of the SCMP Group.
SCMP’s longtime owner, the Kuok family of Malaysia, has been looking to sell the newspaper as print publishers face tough competition from online media outlets. It has a market valuation of approximately HK$3.04 billion ($390 million). Media and entertainment assets have been the focus of Alibaba’s multi-billion dollar acquisition spree over the past few years. Last week, Alibaba paid $3.67 billion to acquire online video site Youku Tudou.
Alibaba is also investing in traditional media
In June this year, Alibaba formed a financial news joint venture with China Business Network (CBN), China’s leading financial newspaper. Its other major investments in media and entertainment sector include Sina Weibo, Huayi Brothers, and Enlight Media. Previously there were rumors that Chinese financial conglomerate Citic was in talks to buy the SCMP Group, but the asking price was too high.
Meanwhile, Alibaba is gearing up for the biggest event of the year. Analysts expect this year’s Singles’ Day (Nov.11) shopping event to set a new record. Alibaba received orders worth $9.34 billion during the last year’s shopping festival. Alibaba expects its partners to deploy 1.7 million deliverymen, 400,000 vehicles, 5,000 warehouses, and more than 200 airplanes to handle the deliveries following the Singles’ Day event.