Alibaba to buy Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post

SCMP newspaper

Chinese internet giant Alibaba is to buy Hong Kong-based newspaper the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The price being paid has not been revealed. According to Thomson Reuters, SCMP has a market value of HK$3bn ($392m; £258.5m).

Alibaba will remove the paywall from the paper’s website to make its content freely available.

Alibaba said the title was unique because it covered news from China in the English language.

Such coverage is in demand by readers globally who want to understand the world’s second-largest economy, said Joe Tsai, Alibaba Group’s executive vice chairman.

In a letter to readers, Mr Tsai said: “We see the perfect opportunity to marry our technology with the deep heritage of the SCMP to create a vision of news for the digital age.”

He added: “Only through additional resources will the SCMP be able to stay true to its core values of quality, integrity and trust.”

Robin Hu, chief executive of SCMP, said it welcomed Alibaba’s commitment to invest in the title.

“With proven expertise especially in mobile internet, Alibaba is in an excellent position to leverage technology to create content more efficiently and reach a global audience.”

The paper was founded in 1903 but profits and sales have in recent years been hit by the same declines as newspapers in many countries.

The deal also includes licences for the Hong Kong editions of magazines including Elle, Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar.

Alibaba’s New York-listed shares ended down 5.4% after the deal was announced.