Free Access to Online and Mobile Edition of SCMP: Alibaba’s Signature Footstep of Acquisition

By Staff Writer

Apr 07, 2016 08:26 AM EDT

South China Morning Post (SCMP), the Hong Kong based premier online English newspaper has removed the pay-wall from its website following completion of acquisition by Alibaba. The online pay-wall has been removed from 6 pm (Local Time) after expiring ten years in place. Its physical and PDF editions will continue as subscription-based.

Free access to online and mobile editions of SCMP has opened up the most comprehensive and credible news site on Greater China to the rest of the world. has transformed itself into digital media with more than 2.5 million subscribers per month at an age when internet giants like Google hasn't surfaced.

Media companies in Hong Kong and around the world have been passing through critical moments following adoption of cost-cutting measures or even closing down. SCMP has bucked up the free era after acquisition of the 113-year-old newspaper and its media assets by Alibaba Group, medial mogul of China, reports South China Morning Post.

The newspaper has previously offered free access to limited number of stories on its website per month. But now the free access ceiling has been removed which paves the way for SCMP to approach for global leadership, observes Tammy Tam, editor-in-chief for SCMP. Tam also argues echoing the voice of Alibaba founder Jack Ma that the world needs insightful and trusted news, according to a report published in TechCrunch.

Alibaba's acquisition has been formally approved by the group shareholders on March 14. The Chinese internet giant twisted for a while to put a signature stamp over the publication symbolizing the acquisition. Removal of pay-wall appears in line with Alibaba's intention for publicity of dramatic appearance, suggests a report published in VentureBeat.

Analysts keep watching with immense enthusiasm how Alibaba allows editorial independence for SCMP keeping its earlier commitment. The group has already pledged for driving away the negative perceptions about China among its western shareholders. Notably mentioning, Alibaba is registered with the New York Stock Exchange.

In addition to the removal of pay-wall, SCMP has also launched on Tuesday an upgraded mobile app with faster loading, search, and deep-link support. The app allows users to access stories directly through clicking on the links shared on social media. However, the app has drawn attraction due to Alibaba's focus on mobile business which supplies majority of its revenue.

SCMP through a dramatic move, has started allowing free access to its online newspaper resembling completion of acquisition by Alibaba group. Enthusiast analysts keep a sharp eye on how the group allows editorial independence to SCMP. However, the acquisition has appeared as a boon for the 113 year old newspaper since it provides an opportunity for becoming a global leader in news world.

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