Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
I had the idea of purchasing The New York Times when I first placed an advertisement in it in December, 2012, claiming China's sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands. I find Americans know little about a civilized and open China that has been enjoying unprecedented development. The tradition and style of The New York Times make it very difficult to have objective coverage of China. If we could purchase it, its tone might turn around. Therefore I have been involved in discussing acquisition-related matters with like-minded investors.
I revealed this plan unintentionally when attending an awards ceremony, which, however, caused an uproar among the public. Many people think I'm just bragging. Similarly, a spokesman for The New York Times said that the paper would not comment on the rumor.
I just feel bewildered: Why is a Chinese investor buying a US newspaper viewed as a "rumor?" Against the background of increasing economic integration and international cooperation, how can people draw a conclusion that it is a rumor?
The time-honored New York Times is a listed company and its price tag is calculated to reach $1 billion in light of its current value and equity features. I possess limited capital but have persuaded a Hong Kong entrepreneur to contribute $600 million to this cause. I would not hesitate to risk bankruptcy as long as I could purchase the paper.
I may succeed or fail in this acquisition, which actually needs candid communication and arduous negotiation. I have said as long as the price is reasonable, there is nothing that cannot be bought. The words specifically refer to this acquisition. The paper has been suffering from declining advertising revenue and mired in a developmental and credit crisis many times in recent years, so acquiring it will perhaps help it develop for the better, and I have full confidence about this purchase.
If the deal fails, I will try to buy another influential media, eventually achieving my objective of acquisition.
But if I succeed, I will conduct some necessary reforms, the ultimate goal of which is to make the paper's reports more authentic and objective, thus rebuilding its credibility and influence. This will facilitate the world's leading paper in future development and profit-making.
I believe the acquisition will also increase the circulation of the paper, enlarge the readership and attract more advertising, injecting new vigor into its business. In this way, I believe major shareholders of The New York Times will take my offer into serious consideration.
I planned to make the acquisition in a low-profile way. Nevertheless, I created a sensation anyway. There are now a number of onlookers and critics mocking me.
Why does the acquisition plan trigger so much misunderstanding and ridicule? Most Chinese people still cling to conservative thinking. Now that the world has become a global village, a country is completely able to conduct innovations in overseas publicity and an ordinary citizen can contribute to the its development with bold ideas.
Sometimes some things seem like jokes, but it does not mean they are impossible. For instance, the Chang'e-3 spacecraft has already deployed the Yutu rover on the Moon. In this great civilization where everyone is struggling for their dreams, we need to break away from the "deep-water areas" in our mindset amid a new era of reform and opening-up and engage ourselves in adventurous and novel explorations.
I may be a maverick, but it doesn't mean I like playing tricks. I want to purchase The New York Times. Please do not treat it as a joke.
The author is chairman of Jiangsu Huangpu Recycling Resources Company. firstname.lastname@example.org