China Computerworld, the only official Sino-American joint publication, ceases operations due to financial losses

China Computer World (CCW), the only official magazine of the Sino-American joint venture on the mainland and once a go-to for computer enthusiasts in China, is ceasing operations due to severe financial losses, its publisher announced on Wednesday.

Established in 1980 by the American media and marketing company International Data Group (IDG) and the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to educate the Chinese public in computer science, CCW stood out as an exception to China’s general ban on foreign ownership in domestic media.

CCW released its last print edition last June, but has so far maintained a website and social media accounts. But on Wednesday, he told employees the company was running out of money to pay salaries and other operating costs, according to an internal staff notice seen by the To post and confirmed by two employees.

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A China Computerworld blog post on Chinese social media platform Weibo announcing that the publication is ceasing operations. Photo: Screenshot alt=A China Computerworld blog post on Chinese social media platform Weibo announcing that the publication is ceasing operations. Photo: Screenshot>

At least 40 employees have not been paid since February, and about 20 are considering legal action against the company, according to an employee who declined to be named because he is currently in labor arbitration with CCW.

IDG and the Chinese public investment company sold their shares in CCW since 2020, after the publication reported a loss of 8.5 million yuan ($1.3 million) the previous year.

CCW was a pioneer of the information industry in China, having made a name for his interest in the country’s booming internet sector. It was the first newspaper in mainland China to operate on its own without state funding, after government reforms that began in 1978.

The publication also marked the first Chinese venture of IDG, a multibillion-dollar publisher of more than 200 magazines and books. The company went on to publish the Chinese-language editions of several popular American magazines, including Cosmopolitan, QG and Harper’s Bazaar.

“We cover topics that are not directly related to criticism of government policy or economic policy,” said IDG Founder and Chairman Patrick McGovern. Forbes in 2006.

The publishing giant is also an early partner of IDG Capital, one of the first global investment firms to focus on China in the 1990s.

The company has acquired stakes in some of China’s most successful internet companies, including internet search firm Baidu, social media and video game giant Tencent Holdings, smartphone and gadget maker Xiaomi and service provider food delivery and on-demand services Meituan.

IDG Capital has also invested in 50 of the 301 China-based unicorns – start-ups valued at over US$1 billion – according to Hurun’s Global Unicorn Index 2021, making it one of the top equity firms- China’s most successful venture.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice journal on China and Asia for over a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2022. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Jacob L. Thornton