After charging helmsman Gary Liu with leading a spinoff that would transform artwork into non-fungible tokens, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s most major media division is seeking a new CEO.
The South China Morning Post, a well-known Hong Kong news organization owned by Alibaba in 2015, launched a global search for a new editor-in-chief. In a message sent to staff on Wednesday, Alibaba Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai said that Liu will continue to lead the company until a replacement is found.
Alibaba is said to be exploring buying media assets, including a century-old English-language news agency that aimed to be the go-to source for news on the world’s second-biggest economy.
In a staff letter that highlighted the SCMP’s new blockchain company, Liu wrote, “A global search for our next CEO is underway, and I will share details of the leadership transition at a future date,”
When asked to comment on the paper, the SCMP sent a statement on the spinoff that had no more information about the CEO transfer.
China’s top economic planner will propose banning private money from participating in news activities in 2021. The restrictions, which would only apply to domestic investments, were put in place months after Beijing expressed concern over Alibaba’s handling of a disputed event involving one of its executives.
Bauhinia Culture (Hong Kong) Assets Ltd. is considering adding the city’s most prestigious English-language newspaper to its media holdings. Alibaba’s representatives have denied that the company is for sale.
Thanks to a large classified job-advertising section, SCMP, which was created in 1903, was formerly one of the most profitable newspapers in the world. The newspaper was taken up by media billionaire Rupert Murdoch in 1986, but he sold his stake to Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok in 1993. Alibaba agreed to buy the journal for HK$2 billion ($256 million) in 2015.
“I want to express my high optimism for SCMP’s future. We remain as committed to SCMP’s mission as ever,” Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai said in the memo.