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Taobao bans sales of foreign publications

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op business and technology news for March 10. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "A Manhattan mansion for a jailed Chinese tycoon."
3 months ago
Jia Guo

  • Taobao is banning merchants from selling foreign media in China — even media approved by censors / Quartz
    Taobao, the online shopping platform owned by Alibaba, announced a new rule today that will prohibit vendors from selling foreign publications, including those already approved by the authorities. In the announcement (in Chinese), the company said the rule was put in place to “manage market order” and “provide a safe online shopping environment.” Taobao said the regulation not only applies to freelance overseas agents (代购 dàigòu) who buy products on people’s behalf and evade import duties by carrying or shipping small quantities of goods into China, but also to state-owned publishers, the main distributors of foreign media. On Weibo, a popular social network platform, many internet users see the ban as a setback for the society. One commenter asked (in Chinese), “What’s the reason for doing this? Is this a form of locking the country up? There’s no ban on cosmetics or foods but publications. You might as well limit the population studying overseas and cut down on international exchanges. It’s even safer to lock yourself up!”
  • Paramount’s Chinese partners haven’t paid a penny of promised $1 billion / Hollywood Reporter
    Sources told the Hollywood Reporter that Paramount Pictures has not yet received the expected first payment of $140 million from its financing deal with its Chinese partners, Shanghai Film Group and Huahua Media. The Chinese partners are said to have told Paramount’s parent company, Viacom, that they will not pay any money until they meet with Viacom CEO Bob Bakish and whoever is appointed to run the studio to “get an explanation of the slate strategy going forward.” Before they left Paramount, Brad Grey, former studio chairman, and Rob Moore, former vice chairman, had established good business ties with China. A source with knowledge of the matter said that their departure has probably caused the Chinese partners to be anxious. Under the terms of the deal, which was announced in January, Shanghai Film Group and Huahua Media agreed to finance at least 25 percent of each film on Paramount’s slate for three years with an option for a fourth year.

By Jia Guo
Jia Guo is from the coastal city of Qingdao. She has an M.A. in multimedia journalism from NYU and has worked at Facebook and Bloomberg TV in New York City.
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