Chinese newspaper groups in the digital era: The resurgence of the party press

Haiyan Wang, Colin SPARKS*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)
75 Downloads (Pure)


This article reviews the impact of digital technologies on Chinese newspapers. The diffusion of the smartphone has precipitated severe economic problems for the printed press. There have been falls in both readership and advertising revenues, which have had an effect on the structure of provincial-level press groups. The decline in economic viability has been felt most acutely by the commercially-oriented titles, while the more politically-oriented papers have led the way in finding new sources of funding. These sources tend to tie journalism more tightly to political and economic power, and lead to commercial goals replacing journalistic ones. This shifting balance of economic power has important consequences for the possibility of independent and critical journalism. The empirical material is specific to China, but it highlights more general theoretical questions as to the political economy of the media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-119
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • Advertising
  • China
  • Circulation
  • Digital
  • Economics
  • Journalism
  • Newspapers


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