China’s most prominent Communist newspaper, The People’s Daily, is taking a step that Chairman Mao Tse-Tung would find incomprehensible -- the paper seeks listing on the domestic Shanghai Stock Exchange.
In what is perhaps another manifestation of China’s growing embrace of capitalism, while still trying to maintain the illusion of adhering to Socialist principles, the newspaper said it will continue to advocate Communist values.
According to a prospectus, the paper is planning to raise more than 500-millionYuan (about $79-million) through a public offering of about 69-million shares. That amount would represent about one-quarter stake in the company.
Proceeds from the offering will apparently be used to upgrade technology and improve online services.
Analysts have reportedly said that China simply wants to make its state-controlled media more competitive by operating like a commercial business.
Beijing-based Jeremy Goldkorn, founder of media research firm Danwei told Agence France Presse: This has been brewing for some time. Why not get the money from the market, instead of the government, if they can?”
He added: If they are going to have state-controlled media companies that are successful in holding people's attention, then being run like commercial enterprises is going to be better.”
Moreover, according to Chinese media, up to ten government-owned media entities may seek domestic stock listings, including state broadcaster China Central Television and the Xinhua news agency.
Press reports indicate that the Chinese government may also be seeking to compete against social media websites and microblogs which have proliferated in the country in recent years (and which draw far from readership that the Communist Party mouthpiece).
More than 500-million people in China are believed to be online.