The New York Times today launched a new Chinese-language website, in the hopes of gaining new readership from China's burgeoning middle class. The site, cn.nytimes.com, went live Thursday morning in China, and will feature about 30 articles per day. According to the paper, roughly two-thirds of these articles will be translated from English, with the remaining third written by Chinese editors and freelancers.
"The goal of the new site is to provide China's growing number of educated, affluent, global citizens with high-quality coverage of world affairs, business and culture," the Times said in a statement. "The site will be edited specifically for readers in China, presenting translations of the best of The Times's award-winning journalism alongside original work by Chinese writers contributing to The Times."
"We’re not tailoring it to the demands of the Chinese government"
The major question, of course, is whether the Times will be able to deliver objective news and editorials without riling China's government censors. "We’re not tailoring it to the demands of the Chinese government, so we’re not operating like a Chinese media company," foreign editor Joseph Kahn told Media Decoder. "China operates a very vigorous firewall. We have no control over that. We hope and expect that Chinese officials will welcome what we’re doing." The site's servers, it's worth noting, are located outside China.
Unlike nytimes.com, the Times' Chinese platform won't feature a digital paywall at launch, though chief advertising officer Denise F. Warren says the paper may "contemplate" this option later on. For now, Warren says, the company's Chinese site simply needs "the opportunity to flourish."