Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma has affirmed his interest in pursuing further media investments, although he would not say if he plans to buy the South China Morning Post as recent rumours have suggested.

In an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday’s “Singles Day” sales, Ma said that investing in a media company such as SCMP Group, publisher of the South China Morning Post, would make sense for Alibaba’s business strategy.

Jack Ma. Photo: Bloomberg screencapture.

“People say the internet destroyed the offline retail business,” Ma said, “I say, well, if you can do better, if we work together, we can do better, so we want to make an example.”

Pointing to recent investments in online media company Sina and traditional retail businesses Intime and Suning, Ma asked, “if Suning can be better, if Intime can be better working with us, why not other people? For media, it is the same thing.”

Internet plus media
“We think internet plus media might be interesting,” Ma added, “to help us to understand them and for them to understand us. So we just want to set examples, and also for us, we need media to help promote our small-medium-size companies.”

Nonetheless, Ma would not give a definitive response to queries regarding his interest in the South China Morning Post. “I am watching a lot of companies now,” he said.

On Monday, China Daily reported that Alibaba was in talks to invest in Hong Kong’s SCMP Group, publisher of the South China Morning Post.

A spokesperson for SCMP Group refused to comment on “market rumours.”

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.