CHINA PURSUES STATE MEDIA LISTINGBy Kathrin Hille in Beijing 2008-12-05
China National Publishing, the state-owned group through which the country controls the import and distribution of foreign media and books, is planning to restructure and list some of its subsidiaries.
The initiative is the first sign in months that plans by the Chinese government to push the commercialisation of state media are still being pursued.
Last December, the listing of Liaoning Publishing and Media including its editorial operations in Shanghai was seen as a breakthrough in media reform. But progress in other cases has been slow since then amid a tightening of censorship.
“The listing issue has received backing from above,” said an official at the group.
However, he cautioned that the company still had to wait for approval from the Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, and the Communist party's propaganda department.
Other officials at group companies also said there were plans for restructuring, confirming a report by an industry publication posted on the website of the General Administration of Press and Publication, the print media regulator.
A Gapp spokesman declined to comment.
CNP is the only publisher in China that is not under Gapp's authority but directly regulated by the party's propaganda department.
Industry experts consider it unlikely that the government is ready to give foreign investors a meaningful role in distributing foreign newspapers in China, a business the authorities have so far considered so sensitive that it needs to remain under total government control.
Li Pengyi – an official who is credited with turning Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, a specialist publisher, from a bureaucratic machine into a commercially oriented enterprise – recently joined CNP as party secretary.
The move is being seen as a sign that China's biggest publishing group has been earmarked for a commercial makeover, which could involve overseas acquisitions. “They are developing a lot of quite aggressive ambitions,” said a publishing executive.
China National Publications Import & Export, one of CNP's affiliates, is in charge of bringing foreign magazines, books and newspapers, including the Financial Times, to their subscribers in the country.
The group declined to state its revenues or otherwise explain the scope of its operations.
Its website states that it holds a market share of about 70 per cent, but it was unclear what total market it was referring to.
The second company earmarked for listing is China National Publishing Industry Trading Corp, an import and export agent.
In addition, the group wants to spin off and list two publishers of art books and collectors' items.
中国出版集团拟重组上市英国《金融时报》席佳琳(Kathrin Hille)北京报道 2008-12-05
中国出版集团(China Publishing Group)正计划进行重组，并将旗下部分子公司上市。中国通过该国有集团控制外国媒体和图书的进口及发行。
去年12月，辽宁出版传媒(Liaoning Publishing and Media)及其上海编辑业务的上市，被认为是中国媒体业改革的一次突破。但此后，由于审查制度收紧，其它国有媒体上市的进展一直颇为缓慢。
该集团旗下公司的其他管理层人士也表示有重组计划，从而证实了中国新闻出版总署(General Administration of Press and Publication)网站上一份业内刊物的有关报道。中国新闻出版总署是印刷媒体的监管机构。
李朋义最近成为了中国出版集团的党组书记。人们认为，正是他将专业出版商外研社(Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press)从官僚机器改造成了商业导向型企业。
中国出版集团的附属机构——中国图书进出口（集团）总公司(China National Publications Import & Export)负责将外国杂志、图书以及报纸带给国内的订户，其中包括英国《金融时报》。
准备上市的第二家公司，是进出口代理商中国出版对外贸易总公司(China National Publishing Industry Trading Corp)。