NY Times Uses WeChat to Export News to Asia

Both Quartz and The Atlantic published articles earlier this year about how the New York Times was using an array of digital methods to continue publication of its work since being banned after an article about the wealthy family of China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in 2012.

They say the paper has been simultaneously mirroring it’s articles on sites scattered around the internet, using apps which target the Chinese language market, pushing articles through social media under invented names and syndicating articles to local news publications.

Now Nieman Lab report that the Times is launching an international bi-lingual English/Chinese WeChat account. The NY Times will use the account to send out a daily digest of news, and whilst the account will still be banned in China, Nieman Lab thinks it’s clear who the target audience is.

According to Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha, “this is an international account for WeChat. The account is not available within China, their domestic market. The target audience for this account is WeChat international users in Asia but outside of China.” But looking through the paper’s first dispatches on WeChat, they clearly have Chinese readers in mind. Top stories include Chinese President Xi Jinping’s impending visit to the U.S. and meeting with President Obama, as well as a profile of Asian-American actress Constance Wu.


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