AMBER VERNETTI WRITES – The U.K.’s Daily Mail — surprisingly, the world’s most-read online English-language newspaper — will soon open an Australian edition. The move follows a similar down-under launch by rival The Guardian earlier this year.

Mail Online, Daily Mail’s international online publication and the world’s most popular English-language newspaper, boasts 57.3 million views per month in Australia alone, which backers say has made the country an “obvious market.”

An Australian version of Mail Online would provide Western-style journalism for theoretically hundreds of millions of people in Asia who prefer reading their news in English. Australia’s Asia Pacific location is a prime setting for this desired news writing.

Margaret Simons, head of the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne, said, “The game here is becoming a global English-language media brand to join the likes of BBC, CNN, and the New York Times.”

Mail Online Australia is the result of a partnership between Daily Mail and Mi9, the media corporation owned by Nine Entertainment. Mail Online’s publisher, Martin Clarke, said that “Two trusted brands with a commitment to journalism will offer stories that will set the agenda in Australia.”

The online launch has been a needed shift to the ‘belt-tightening’ trend that has recently plagued journalism, opening up 50 positions for reporters to work for the Australian Mail Online.

Mark Britt, head executive of Mi9, said, “While many of the industry’s players have been cutting back their editorial resources, we’re excited to be increasing our editorial footprint.”