Asia

Chinese communist paper seeks capitalist investors

Screenshot of People's Daily's website, 10 January 2012
Image caption The People's Daily aims to promote the Communist Party's theories and policies

China's most important communist newspaper is seeking capitalist investors.

The People's Daily intends to list its website on Shanghai's stock exchange in the hope of raising more than $80m (£51.2m).

The newspaper - the mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party - wants the money so the website can compete with its commercial rivals.

It will upgrade technology and improve online services.

No easy read

China ditched many of its communist principles several decades ago under reforms carried out by former leader Deng Xiaoping.

When it comes to the economy, it is the market - not the theories of Karl Marx - that now holds sway.

The latest change comes to the People's Daily, a national newspaper that has been the voice of China's ruling Communist Party since 1948.

It has applied to list its website in Shanghai within the next six months. About one quarter of the site's shares are being offered.

It wants to use the money raised to develop mobile services and strengthen its editorial team.

The People's Daily is not known as an easy read.

That is perhaps not surprising, as one of its aims is to "promote the Communist Party's theories and policies".

It feeds its readers with an often dour daily diet of official visits and party meetings.

The website suffers from a similar problem.

Its editors admit that it struggles to keep up with commercial websites, such as Sina.com and Sohu.com, which provide more exciting content.

"They have become a major challenge for our company," says the prospectus, available on the website of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

The People's Daily Online currently attracts just a fraction of those websites' online traffic.

It hopes the money raised in this initial public offering will help rectify that problem.

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