Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao, two prominent pro-Beijing newspapers in Hong Kong, announced a merger Tuesday to create a new entity called Ta Kung Wen Wei Media Group.
Ta Kung Pao chairman Jiang Zaizhong will become president of the new media group and will be in charging of integrating the editorial and technology resources of the two newspapers, a statement said.
The group will continue to publish the two daily newspapers separately in Hong Kong but will pool the resources and jointly seek new media opportunities, according to the statement that was published in both the newspapers.
Veteran Hong Kong-based journalist and former Wen Wei Po deputy editor Ching Cheong was quoted as saying in a BBC report that the merger of the two papers has been on the table for the last two decades but was stuck due to the question of who will lead the other after the merger.
The Communist Party mouthpieces have faced heavy financial losses for many years but Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong still keeps operating them for political reasons, Ching said.
He said that Hong Kong Commercial Daily, another Hong Kong-based pro-Beijing newspaper, was not included in the merger due to its complicated shareholding structure, which involves the Shenzhen Newspaper Group.
Radio Free Asia separately quoted Ching as saying in an interview that one of the catalysts for the merger is that Ta Kung Po was previously a big supporter of Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai, who is now in jail.
Last November, Ta Kung Pao said it would close 21 news bureaus in mainland China.
Ta Kung Po was founded in 1902 and Wen Wei Po was set up in 1948. There is no official data about their circulation but commentators believe their influence among the leftists has been on the wane.
For instance, even Arthur Li, the newly appointed chairman of the University of Hong Kong’s governing body and a prominent pro-Beijing figure, has said that he doesn’t like to read Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao, according to a leaked audio clip from a HKU meeting last October.
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Joshua Wong dismisses Xinhua article on alleged CIA links (July 29, 2014)
CUHK center a US intelligence front, Wen Wei Po says (Sept. 24, 2014)
Why these pro-Beijing newspapers’ days are numbered (Nov. 3, 2015)
Wen Wei Po is not happy with King Arthur (Oct. 29, 2015)
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