China Daily, China’s biggest English-language newspaper, has launched an African edition – the latest of several Chinese media initiatives in Africa. The state-run weekly, which also comes in digital form, aims to explain “the relationship between China and the African continent,” its editor says.China’s CCTV and Xinhua news agency already have operations in the region.
The country has a growing economic role in Africa, including telecommunications and infrastructure investments. The newspaper is being published in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. “The relationship between China and the African continent is one of the most significant relationships in the world today,” said the paper’s publisher and editor-in-chief, Zhu Ling. “It is growing and complex and not always understood… We hope to set that straight.”
Kenya Information Minister Samuel Poghisio was quoted by local media as saying that the paper would provide a platform for better understanding between China and Africa. Earlier this year, China Central Television launched CCTV Africa, also headquartered in Kenya. Xinhua and Chinese radio are also expanding in the continent. China has also implemented other innovative media projects, like giant news screens in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and thousands of scholarships for African journalists, reports BBC Africa analyst Mary Harper.
Xinhua has also partnered with a Kenyan mobile firm to provide news service for mobiles. China is now Africa’s largest trading partner and in July, Beijing pledged $20bn (£12.8bn) in credit for Africa over the next three years, in a push for closer ties and increased trade. President Hu Jintao has also called for better co-operation with African countries on international affairs.
The expansion in Africa is part of China’s push to increase its international media presence, including in the US. This year, Xinhua advertised heavily in New York’s Times Square to promote the news agency. Copies of China Daily have appeared as advertising supplements in the New York Times and Washington Post, and CCTV America has launched.