Last Friday, Huxiu, one of the top media outlets in China for business and new economy, posted this notice on its web site:
“Dear Huxiu users,
Huxiu web site and app will stop uploading new content for one month, starting from 23:59 hours on 18 Dec 2020. We will enter maintenance mode. Huxiu will thrive to build a clean space, and serve our users better.
Thank you for your understanding”
The trigger of this was an article that it published shortly before, titled “反垄断的同时，要警惕‘无垄断可反’” or “In the effort of anti-trust, be careful of “no trust to go against”“. The article, attributed to Huxiu’s Director of Research “Eastland”, has since been taken down.
The article, which took aim on the recent anti-trust regulations (and fines), took an obvious pro-Alibaba approach. It ended with the following two paragraphs:
“As Master Ma said: ‘If society has a technical need, that helps science forward more than ten universities.” #Master Karl Marx#
Chinese companies’ global quest can’t be reliant on just Huawei, but also needs Tencent, Alibaba, ByteDance, Baidu, Xiaomi, BYD … “
Jack Ma is commonly addressed as “Master Ma” by Alibaba staff and some Chinese media. Comparing him to Karl Marx is obviously sycophancy in Chinese context.
Worse, the quote did not even come from Karl Marx, but his comrade Friedrich Engels.
In 2015 the company went public on NEEQ, as “the first public tech media in China”. However, in 2019, it delisted, after recording almost zero trades over a prolonged period of time.
It is worth noting that Shanghai Yunxin Venture Captial Management Co. Ltd, an entity controlled by Ant Group, is the largest corporate shareholder of Huxiu, owning about 15%.
Another Ant affiliate is the largest shareholder of 36Kr, the top tech media in China. 36Kr (Nasdaq: KRKR) has not had an easy time since its IPO a year ago:
The fact that Ant Group controls, or significantly influences, the leading tech media outlets in China is probably not very welcome by the government, including the regulators.