Late Friday night, Alibaba’s Jack Ma joined Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as the latest tech billionaire to acquire his own newspaper, by purchasing Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post for $266 million. The paper is the semi-autonomous city-state’s most influential English-language news outlet, as well as a longtime thorn in the side of the Chinese regime. That would appear to pose a problem for Alibaba, which thrives in part because of its good relations with the government.
Executive Vice-President Joseph Tsai claims to see opportunity instead. “When people don’t really understand China and have the wrong perception of China, they also have a lot of misconceptions about Alibaba,” he explained to the New York Times. So in theory, if the SCMP now presents a rosier picture of China and the Chinese economy, Alibaba’s business should benefit as well. “What’s good for China is also good for Alibaba,” Tsai insisted.