According to today’s South China Morning Post, the influential Beijing-based financial magazine Caijing is experiencing a crisis of seismic proportion. Consequently it will lose two third of business staff. It is understood that General Manager Daphne Wu Chuanhui and eight of her nine business directors have resigned. Another unnamed source further suggests that 70% of the 100-staff strong business department will quit their positions in the next few days. The exodus has caused speculation that charismatic founder and managing editor Hu Shuli may also be prepared to leave.
Caijing was founded in 1998 by senior journalist Hu Shuli. It is one of the few publications in China that has gained its reputation solely through investigative journalism and exclusive commentaries. Its editorial independence is made possible through a commercial sponsorship model backed by the Stock Exchange Executive Council (SEEC). The SEEC is a semi-government institution that represents the interests of private investors. These investors advocate market-oriented economic reforms and are likely to benefit from a more liberal style of journalism.
A 2001 survey found that over 70% of Caijing’s regular readers were company executives who had decision-making responsibilities. That is why Wall Street Journal once described Caijing as “the leading finance publication in China”. With an estimated advertising income of more than RMB 200 million, Caijing is possibly one of the most profitable finance publications in China.
It is unclear what has triggered this wave of resignation. An iFeng.com report suggests that it is the result of a fall out between Hu Shuli and senior management at SEEC over editorial independence. The report speculates that Hu may start a new publication with overseas funding. There are also rumours about argument over a takeover deal.