Reader's Digest may quit China

Updated: 2012-05-30 08:20

By Chen Xin in Beijing and Shi Jing in Shanghai (China Daily)

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Once the best-selling consumer magazine in the United States, Reader's Digest may close its Chinese version due to unclear readership targets and weak promotion.

Reader's Digest may quit China

Reader's Digest began to publish the monthly magazine Puzhi on the Chinese mainland in 2008 with the cooperation of the Shanghai Press and Publishing Development Company.

Puzhi, which means "universal knowledge" in Chinese, is the same size as Reader's Digest in the US and features similar content.

Ye Qingcheng, a Beijing-based writer, posted on her micro blog on Monday night that the Puzhi office has started to dismiss employees and that Reader's Digest is going to quit the Chinese mainland market.

She said it was a pity to lose such a good magazine.

Gregory Yim, the Shanghai-based business manager of Reader's Digest China, would not comment when reached by China Daily on Tuesday.

But one staff member confirmed the planned closure.

"It's true, but we're still waiting for more information about when we will leave," said the staff member, who refused to be identified.

Xue Li, a Shanghai-based freelancer, said she has written articles for almost every issue for two years.

"The magazine did not tell me whether it would close or not. But it does not matter to me because I write for several magazines and papers at the same time," she said.

Huang Jianhua, an accountant from a food supply company in Shanghai, started to read Puzhi in 2009 when her bank gave her a free six-month subscription.

"It's true that some of the original essays and book reviews are quite impressive, but translated articles, which take up most of the content, do not interest me," Huang said.

Its circulation was around 420,000 when it debuted.

Wang Peng, a Wuhan-based brand-marketing expert, said Puzhi lost ground in the market mainly due to its unclear orientation.

"The magazine wanted to be family-oriented, but in China, values of parents and children might vary a lot. It also aimed to attract high-end readers using its overseas background," he said. "Puzhi hoped to win the two groups but neither of them has been pinned down."

"Lack of attraction to readers would directly lead to slim advertising revenue and that's the main reason why the company would possibly suspend the magazine," he said.

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Wang Xinwei contributed to this story.