Following up on our “No Next Step for Next Media” article that appeared here in April, Hong Kong’s largest media company, ‘Next Media’, has recently confirmed the selling of its Taiwan-based Entertainment Services Ltd.
Next Media’s largest Taiwanese publications, ‘Next Magazine’ and ‘Apple Daily’, are a huge part of the company’s portfolio- a fact that has many worried.
Company founder Jimmy Lai came to Hong Kong as a twelve-year-old boy from China, and rose to become one of the world’s most successful media moguls. After fighting a losing battle against competing companies and strict regulations, Next Media’s losses were three times higher than last year. Earlier in October, Lai announced the price of his entire empire: $600 million.
Known for his constant criticism of China’s government, the high-profile Lai and his empire have served as an outlet for those in support of Taiwan’s independence movement. Expressing the fear of many Taiwanese citizens, Mark Simon, a spokesperson for Next Media, stated: “There’s a debate going on about whether Taiwan is being taken over by mainland interests buying the media companies”.
After visiting the employees at Next Media’s Taiwan division, Lai took his leave by stating: “This land is your land, you have to keep fighting for it, I can’t hold out here anymore. I tried and I failed.”
Lai’s fans in Hong Kong and Taiwan fear that as Lai exits the media scene, a healthy measure of politically incorrect controversy will leave with it.