|Year founded||June 1998|
|Country||People's Republic of China|
Caijing (财经) is an independent magazine based in Beijing, China, that publishes articles exploring the challenges of a society in political and economic transition, with a focus on civil rights, public affairs, and business. The publication's title means "Finance and Economics Magazine". Caijing seeks to have an "independent standpoint, exclusive coverage and unique perspective" and much of its success is due to its independent and sometimes aggressive coverage of corruption.
Caijing was founded in June 1998 by Hu Shuli, a former reporter and editor of the Chinese paper Worker's Daily, as a month-end edition of Capital Week (a weekly specializing in China's capital market); the magazine is a pioneer in its field in China. Caijing was established and is managed by the Stock Exchange Executive Council (SEEC) (中国证券市场研究设计中心(联办)), and is published on the 5th and 20th of every month. SEEC also owns Capital Week (The Integrated Version and The Market Version), Business Post, and New Real Estate.
In September 2009, apparent disagreement between Hu Shuli and the SEEC over editorial policy and financial control led first to rumours that Hu was about to leave and start her own publication. The magazine denied this and threatened legal action against anyone who repeated the "rumours". However, around October 11, resignations were submitted by over two-thirds of the 100 or so employees in the business department, including Caijing general manager Daphne Wu Chuanhui and eight of her nine business directors. Speculation was rife that either the magazine is being sold, or that Hu is starting a new magazine.
On November 9, 2009, Hu Shuli resigned, along with the majority of her editorial staff. According media expert Yuen-ying Chan, Caijing "would not even be a shadow of its former self" without Hu.
Caijing's guiding principles include an "independent standpoint", "exclusive coverage", and a "unique perspective".
Its unique perspective and sharp writing have led to it receiving enthusiastic responses from financial industry experts and casual individual investors alike. The Wall Street Journal called Caijing "The Leading Finance Publication in China".
The articles "Financial Inside Story" and "Yinguangxia Trap" helped Caijing to make its name and earn its financial investigative reputation. The magazine's knack for exposing the darkside of the financial world has helped it to carve out a niche as a financial magazine. Although many magazines try to copy the style of Caijing, these imitations only find brief, fleeting success. Caijing is the only magazine that has continued to strengthen its reputation solely through investigative reporting.
Caijing is China's most profitable financial magazine, with annual advertising income of more than 200 million yuan.
The magazine's pay structure contributes greatly to its success. Most Chinese media, especially publications specializing in the business sector, are not funded well. Reporters and writers for the majority of publications receive kickbacks from businesses at conventions and conferences. These "gifts", handed simply in little unmarked envelopes, entreat the writers to be forgiving in their coverage.
Secondly, Caijing's primary funding adds to its success. Government affiliation of most Chinese publications translates into little freedom for writing articles that can be bestsellers and profit-makers. Caijing has circumvented this cyclical problem by securing financial backing free from advertising and government influence. Backed by the SEEC, Caijing operates with great latitude compared to its competitors. Despite the SEEC's government backing, the institute is in reality a group of private investors. These free market-minded investors only benefit from the blunt honesty of Caijing and therefore do not act as censors. Independent funding has freed Caijing from pandering to special interests.
Caijing was the only news magazine in China in the top ten in advertising revenue in 2006.
The Periodical China has expectations of Caijing becoming a magazine focusing on economical and political issues, similar in vein to The Economist. So far the topics covered by Caijing are usually financial, e.g., news about micro- and macroeconomics, capital and money markets. However, some important social issues are reported and sometimes find themselves in the headlines of the magazine. These social issues have ranged from SARS to flooding to accidents in China.
One in-depth example would be coverage of SARS. Caijing had published a nine-page report about SARS in February 2003, reports about Hong Kong and the mainland starting from April 2003, and a commentary calling for transparency on SARS in 20 April 2003 issue—the same day that the original Minister of Health and Beijing mayor were fired. Caijing then sent most of its reporters all over the mainland to cover SARS by this juncture.
The most famous investigative story, according to Periodical China, was a story about the problems in investment funds, published in 2000. These funds then made their own statements criticizing the report. Hu Shuli was even named as the "most dangerous woman" in the China securities market as a result. In a true "transparent" fashion, Caijing rebutted with a responding statement.
As well as news reports, there are also commentaries from Hu Shuli (called Shuli's Observation) and other well known journalists and economists, such as Jonathan Anderson and Wang Dingding.
All the content of Caijing is available on its own website, caijing.com.cn, where archives of the magazine are kept. However, some of the online articles are for subscribers only.
Periodical China attributes Caijing's success to three factors—investigative reporting, the unique perspective of its commentaries, and its three guiding principles—independence, uniqueness, and exclusiveness.
Other reasons for Caijing's success are, according to Periodical China, the semi-official background of the investors, the news principles of Hu Shuli, her leadership and social networks, the separation of editorial staff and management, guaranteed funding, and focus on editorial integrity and planning.
At the same time, however, because Caijing focuses on investigating the fraud and deception that damage China’s stock markets, it is inevitable that Caijing could face pressure from the Chinese Central Government. Some foreign reporters, such as Dan Slater, have asked how long Caijing can survive. For instance, after the editors of Caijing ignored official bans and printed an expose of the recent real estate/loan scandal involving Shanghai magnate Zhou Zhengyi and others, Chinese officials soon ordered the blocking of its distribution for the month of June. So exactly how much freedom exists in the current Chinese press market for a magazine with such liberal reporting remains questionable.
Also at issue is whether the magazine will be sued due to so-called "false reports." According to the academic paper "Media Defendants in the Chinese Courts" by Professor Zhiwu Chen, specializing in finance at the Yale School of Management, judges in China tend to put protection of people's reputation as a top priority. So facing any court case with accusations of false reporting, if Caijing could not prove that its entire article was true, then the judge would most likely treat the article as false and side with the plaintiff. Caijing has already lost one trial with Shiji Xinyuan (世纪星源), a listed company, following this judicial line of reasoning. A report in Caijing claimed the company manipulated its financial statements to hide financial weaknesses. Shiji Xinyuan then sued Caijing and won because a small part of the article was "false," though the majority was true.
Some claim another of Caijing's potential liabilities is how much it is influenced by the personal style of Hu Shuli. According to Periodical China, Caijing's evolution has been closely tied to Hu, and if Hu leaves the magazine in the future, Caijing's future could be greatly affected.
Also under fire has been whether the investors of Caijing have adequate capital to support the magazine. SEEC operates several other magazines, and it has been questioned whether it can support its many projects.
Circulation and readership
Caijing has grown into a glossy bi-weekly with a staff of more than 180. It has an estimated circulation of 220,000 copies per issue, according to the information given in a website. Caijing is available in the major cities of China and in some Hong Kong bookstores.
According to market research survey in April 2001, over 70% of Caijing's demographic are professionals that have a final say in the decisions made within their companies' operations. Most of the readers are male (82.4%), aged 30 to 40. Sixty-five percent of readers have received post-secondary education. Readership looks at Caijing "frequently" and 50% of readers earn more than 100,000 yuan a year.
SEEC Media Group Limited
Established in 1998, Caijing Fellowship is organized by the China Center of Economic Research at Peking University and is funded by Caijing.
The Fellowship provides funding for training in economic and management theory, as well as financial news reporting. Every year ten journalists and editors from financial media in China are able to receive the fellowships.
- James F. Scotton, "New Media for a New China," John Wiley & Sons, Mar 8, 2010, p. 71
- Capital Week
- Business Post
- Guo, Al (12 October 2009). "Magazine's business chiefs resign". SCMP (Hong Kong). Retrieved 12 October 2009.
- "Future of top China magazine in doubt after exodus". Guardian.co.uk. 15 October 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- Scotton 2010, 70-71
- Caijing official website
- SEEC Media Group Limited
- Caijing Fellowship
- The extract of Periodical China