The tiny Shanghai English-language media scene is abuzz with gossips and rumours over just what is going to happen to SH Mag next. Asia City, the publisher of SH which owns similar magazines in regional cities like Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, has apparently put up a “FOR SALE” sign over the magazine.
It seems the news isn’t such a tight-lipped secret anymore because a copy of the media kit that they’ve been showing to interested buyers somehow made its way to our mailbox anonymously. We looked through the five page document, and it looks like a “sale” isn’t exactly the best word to describe what Asia City is looking at. The buyer will be expected to keep the SH branding and format (as well as SH’s wonderfully fugly “new” website which Asia City will continue to host), and will produce local content with the “guidance” of Asia City which will also provide other things like regional content and image libraries.
And, oh, all that is going really cheaply — the one-time start-up fee to take over the publishing license is just US$5,000 plus another 12% of monthly advertising revenue. There are more catches: You also get to pay for the flights and accommodation of Asia City executives whenever they decide to pop by for “training” or “consultation” — no word there on whether they’re happy to fly cattle class and/or ready to be housed in the local zhaodaisuo to keep costs low. In the long run though, what could make this potentially lucrative for the buyer is the option to license the brand for other Chinese cities. But first, someone needs to figure out how to fatten up the weekly mag (with the best food coverage in town) with some advertising. It’s a been a thin 34-pager for a long time now, and we’re pretty sure we noticed more than a couple “freebie” ads in the latest issue.
If a new buyer isn’t found soon-ish, SH may be a thing of the past and all their magazines lying on your bookshelf will become collector’s items. So, if you have extra cash in the bank, do consider approaching Asia City. You’ll be helping to keep up the competition in Shanghai’s highly oligopolistic English language magazine market — a very worthy cause as far as we’re concerned! And for those of you tycoons out there reading this who have more cash than you know what to do with, Asia City the group is for sale as a whole too. Not sure how much that is going to set you back but if anyone has any news there, please feel free to send it to us.
Previously on Shanghaiist:
SH Mag’s revamp