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People's Daily Launch New Monthly Magazine in Thailand

Jan 11, 2013
by Anchalee Kongrut, a Thai journalist from the Bangkok Post on exchange with the Economic Observer.

In another sign of the warming diplomatic relations between China and Thailand, a new monthly publication from the "People's Daily Overseas Edition" was formally launched in the Thai capital of Bangkok last month.

The publication which goes by the title "People's Daily Overseas Edition Thailand Monthly" (人民日报海外版泰国月刊), will be published on the 18th of every month and, in a departure for People's Daily Overseas Edition publications, it will feature articles in both Chinese and Thai.

The inaugral edition features the portrait of newly appointed secretarty general of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping on the cover.

According to media reports in China, the publication will feature a selection of articles and images published in the existing People's Daily Overseas Edition. The magazine will also include content covering developments in Thailand and South East Asia.

The Chinese ambassador to Thailand, Mr. Guan Mu (管木) said that the new publication will allow Thai people to have a better understanding of China.

Shen Xinggeng (沈兴耕), a member of the new publication's editorial board, who represented the editor-in-chief Zhang Dexiu (张德修) at the launch ceremony, noted that the publication was not simply aimed at people of Chinese background living in Thailand and Chinese students studying there, but that it was also aimed at objectively introducing and describing China to Thai people and other Southeast Asians.

Many official government-controlled media outlets in China are investing in increasing their reach abroad. However, the foreign language publishing or broadcasting arms of Xinhua News Agency, China Radio International (CRI) and China Central Television (CCTV) have traditionally focused on six major foreign languages - English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Russian and Japanese.

People's Daily has published an Overseas Edition since 1985 and this, unlike China Daily (it's English-langauge sister publication), has always been in Chinese.

In January 2011, the People's Daily Overseas Edition began publishing a fortnightly European Edition (人民日报海外版欧洲刊) out of Frankfurt which is also a Chinese-language publication. This was followed in July 2012 by the launch of a special Middle East Edition (人民日报海外版中东刊) which is based in Dubai and is aimed at Chinese-language readers in North Africa and Southwest Asia.

It's hard to know how to interpret the launch of this new monthly magazine. It could be another indication of the recent warming in diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Kingdom of Thailand, though it's unsure whether many people will actually read the publication.

Chinese firms are making their presence felt in Thailand because as many Chinese investors see the country as springboard that will help them to enter markets in Southeast Asia.

The Chinese ambassador to Thailand mentioned during the launch of the new magazine that "The center of logistics in Asean is Thailand, not any other country."

China's investment in Thailand is increasing rapidly, almost doubling in 2011, and Chinese firms are now active in banking, retail, tourism and the auto industry.

Recently, China's massive state-owned SAIC Motor corporation announced that it would team up with Thailand's Charoen Phokphand Group to produce MG-branded cars in Thailand. COFCO, China's largest food processing company, also just opened a factory in Thailand.

Chinese companies are also actively acquiring land and buying up hotels in Bangkok and Chiang Mai in order to tap into Thailand's lucrative tourism sector.

According to Thai data, in 2011, China was the country's second largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI), after Japan.


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