China’s Xi Jinping Seeks Launch of New Media Clusters

Winners and losers as government hastens reform of old media, control of new

China’s president Xi Jinping has called for the establishment of several new media companies, and a possible reshaping pf China’s media landscape.

“Several new media groups that have strength, communication capacity, credibility and are influential should be established,” Xi said, in a report carried by official news agency Xinhua.

Xi said that the new groups should be “diversified,” “advanced,” and “competitive” and said that state authorities should properly integrate and manage traditional and new media.”

He was speaking after the annual closed door meeting of top Communist Party leaders in the seaside resort of Beidahe and following a succession of arrests of senior managers and editors suspected of corruption at the state-owned broadcast behemoth China Central Television.

His plans were kept vague, uncosted and without a timetable.

They appear to suggest that the Communist party and central government are intent on maintaining a controlling voice in Chinese media as it evolves from traditional formats to new media platforms, especially those on mobile and social media.

Central authorities, which already operate strict controls over the Internet in China and ban many foreign media and social media companies, have recently cracked down on social media. Recent announcements have limiting the kind of content which can be transmitted and who can publish. Instant messaging services, such as Sina Weibo and WeChat, which have rapidly evolved into publishing platforms for individuals and organizations, have been told that they may not carry news.

On Tuesday the shares of state-controlled groups People.cn (published of The People’s Daily), Shanghai Xinhua Media and Zhejiang Media all rose sharply. Commentators speculated that these groups would see injections of new funds to help the integration process.

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