Shoppers in supermarkets across Europe will soon get the rare “treat” of watching short broadcasts from Xinhua while picking out their groceries.
In a bizarre choice of expansion strategies, everyone’s favorite news source (besides Shanghaiist) has announced that it will begin short 90-minute English broadcasts inside select European supermarkets in order to improve the country’s image and media influence abroad.
Xinhua’s announcement is just one of several expansions of the Chinese government’s recent 45 billion Yuan effort to expand its influence both domestically and internationally in recent times. After the unveiling of an English version of the Global Times and the expansion of The People’s Daily’s international coverage, it comes as no surprise that Xinhua would get its chance to hook a new audience as well.
The question, though, is what China intends to actually do with its expanded media coverage. The central government’s 45 billion Yuan program is first and foremost a response to negative international media coverage of the Olympics, so one would assume that the newly expanded Xinhua is simply intended to provide a better-harmonized version of the news abroad.
As the Shanghai Expo looms only 309 days away (in case you forgot), it is possible that this is China’s attempt at preventing a firestorm of negative international press similar to last year’s pre-Olympics coverage.
We’re also still a bit puzzled by Xinhua’s choice of media outlets and it seems like we’re not the only ones.
Last we checked, grocery stores are not at the top of most peoples’ lists of most trusted news sources, or places where they would stop to watch tv. Perhaps it is just Xinhua trying to enter a market with seemingly untapped demand… and maybe not realizing that the reason its untapped is because the demand isn’t there.