China is a difficult market for media firms especially for the foreign ones. The fact is highlighted again after the words from the New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) CEO Mark Thompson that it’s Chinese language website and will be kept under constant review after being blocked in October, last year, says a report from Reuters.
CEO said that the site will be analyzed on its performance, which could also lead to closure of the website in China, in the distant future.
Low revenue may lead to closure
Last year, in October, government of China banned the New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT). “The fact that we can’t be seen officially inside China means the revenue is not as large as we would have wished it to have been,” Thompson told Reuters. He said that there has not been any sign of revoking the ban on the site from Chinese officials.
The New York Times was banned in China after it published the news of staggering wealth amassed by former Premier Wen Jiabao family, during his tenure.
Other foreign sites banned in China
Apart from the New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT), other sites like Reuters and the Wall Street Journal have also been banned, according to Chinese web monitoring site GreatFire. These sites published the news about JP Morgan link to Lily Chang, the daughter of former Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
GreatFire took a bold step against Chinese censorship by launching a mirror site for Reuters China, which can be opened within the country and does not need any circumvention tools. The step taken by GreatFire is in favor of the readers, but can be a curse for the site itself as the site will require some working relationship with advertisers, also.
It seems like Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt had misjudged the scenario when he said that government censorship will vanish in 10 years, which does not seem possible considering the recent ban on the New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT).
Entertainment industry not omitted
China has been harsh on media, and Entertainment industry is no exception to that. The country banned a movie of celebrated Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin. Zhangke also kept a distance from the 50th Golden Horse Awards in Taipei known as Chinese Oscars. Jia apologized to his fans, on his Weibo blog, citing personal reasons for absence while media smells Beijing’s hand.