Mom-and-pop news web­sites are giv­ing the vet­er­ans of Van­cou­ver's Chi­nese-lan­guage press a run for their money

BC Business Magazine - - Front Page - By Ja­cob Parry

There’s a shakeup un­der­way in Canada’s Chi­ne­se­lan­guage press—and its epi­cen­tre is in Van­cou­ver. Amid the rip­tide of dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion ham­mer­ing tra­di­tional print busi­ness mod­els, the emer­gence of so­cial me­dia plat­forms like Wechat and a de­mo­graphic shift thanks to ris­ing im­mi­gra­tion from main­land China, the in­dus­try is in flux. Even as cen­sus data show that from 2006 to 2016, the Lower Main­land’s pop­u­la­tion of Chi­nese speak­ers climbed by 22 per cent, to some 385,000, print stal­warts like Ming Pao and Sing Tao have fought to at­tract new read­ers in an in­creas­ingly cut­throat mar­ket. World Jour­nal, the other big lo­cal Chi­ne­se­lan­guage news­pa­per, shut­tered its Cana­dian op­er­a­tions in 2015. Fill­ing the gap are up­start news web­sites, of­ten mom-and-pop en­deav­ours that rely heav­ily on Wechat to reach read­ers.

“It’s a bit of a free-for-all,” says Alex Wan, co-founder and man­ag­ing direc­tor of Pe­riph­ery Dig­i­tal, a Van­cou­ver-based mar­ket­ing con­sul­tancy fo­cus­ing on Chi­nese-cana­di­ans. “There are at least a dozen Chi­nese-based me­dia com­pa­nies, and no­body’s emerg­ing as the cham­pion.”

Haini Xiao, ed­i­tor-in-chief of La­hoo.ca, is mak­ing a good run at it. Based in a strip mall in Rich­mond, La­hoo op­er­ates a web­site pub­lish­ing about 20 posts a day, as well as a free weekly. Founded in 2013, it

MAK­ING THE NEWS Haini Xiao, ed­i­tor-in-chief of La­hoo.ca, claims a read­er­ship of 60,000

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