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Chinese state media to launch leading news-based Web site

Published on .

SHANGHAI--Government-owned news organizations are teaming up to launch what could become China's largest single news-based Internet site -- a mega-page that could have a competitive advantage over the existing Web offerings established by private entrepreneurs.

Local officials acknowledge that the super-site, eastday.com, scheduled to begin operation in late May, is designed to clear up "disorder" in the Internet news market, a euphemism for uncontrolled sources of information.

The new site (www.eastday.com) will link Shanghai's two largest press groups, five TV stations and two radio stations to one free-view location. Profits will be generated from advertising revenue.

Selecting stories from its members, eastday.com will cover international, national, local and business news, sports and culture. As do privately owned Web sites, eastday.com also will offer free e-mail and online shopping.

The Web site announcement comes only a month after central government authorities indicated they were considering rougher controls on Internet news content to stamp out "inaccuracies" appearing on some privately run sites.

"With our news sources, we are certain to provide our readers with the more authoritative and comprehensive news," says Wu Guping, lead official for eastday.com.

The private sites, such as sina.com, now regarded as China's leading news Web site, and sohu.com, another top news portal, were quick to see the streamers on the screen. Reacting to the eastday.com announcement, officials at the sites said that, while they would continue to provide news content, they would refocus on other services such as chat rooms, entertainment and e-commerce.

Copyright March 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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