The SCMP Group has bought out Asia City Media Group, after months of speculation. By July, the group will have acquired all of the assets of Asia City in HK. This includes HK Magazine, which was founded in 1991, as well as The List, Where Chinese and their online outlets…
Asia City is expected to continue managing their titles independently, though a board of SCMP directors have been assigned to oversee the business. Greg Crandall will continue as Asia City Media’s country manager.
In the past year, the SCMP has re-launched its website with a porous pay-wall scrapped its education supplement, hired and fired staff, launched its own stand-alone entertainment magazine, re-launched its video content and absorbed inserts such as Family Post, Health Post and food and lifestyle sections back into its main newspaper.
Last year, the SCMP Group acquired the Chinese edition of Elle and it already owns Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar and the Dymocks chain of bookstores.
HK has lax media concentration and ownership laws. Whilst HK Magazine is mostly a listing and entertainments rag, it still offers some of the best independent, critical reflection of HK politics and policies today. This acquisition is likely bad news for media plurality and diversity in Hong Kong – especially if the SCMP interferes editorially with Asia City’s titles. Our city needs more, not fewer, voices.