“A major Chinese business news website extorted Chinese companies for several hundred million yuan over about four years, state media reported, as investigators probe the conduct of the country’s press,” Brian Spegele reports for The Wall Street Journal. “The official Xinhua News Agency, citing investigators, said Wednesday that some journalists at the 21st Century Business Herald website targeted companies preparing for initial public offerings and forced them to sign lucrative advertising contracts to avoid negative news coverage. Xinhua said the practice resulted in several hundred million yuan in ‘advertising contracts’ beginning from at least 2010.”
“Top editors of the site are among those who have been detained as part of a probe by police into the news organization’s conduct. Chinese police last week said they had detained at least eight people as part of the investigation,” Spegele reports. “While news media remains tightly controlled in China, business reporting often gets greater leeway. Investigations that allege wrongdoing by Chinese companies appear frequently online and in the press. Journalists say companies routinely offer money to publish or withhold information.”
“In some cases, the website’s journalists would publish negative reports on the companies. To fend off the bad publicity, the companies would then work with one of several domestic public-relations agencies to negotiate and sign advertising contracts with the website, Xinhua said. Negative reports would then be deleted, according to Xinhua,” Spegele reports. “‘Internally, we called it a protection fee,’ Zhou Bin, one of the site’s top editors, said in an appearance on China Central Television. He appeared to be dressed in orange prison garb.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Takee: The 21st Century Business Herald this morning claimed that Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus may not hit store shelves in China this year.
Draw your own conclusions.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bill” for the heads up.]
Apple’s iPhone 6/Plus may miss China this year, stock price drops – September 16, 2014