The company of the incoming Brooklyn Nets owner is tilting Hong Kong's storied newspaper toward China (potential synergy?)
The revival began with The Post’s acquisition two years ago by the Alibaba Group, the Chinese technology and retail giant. But if Alibaba is breathing new life into the paper, it has also given it a new mission: improving China’s image overseas and combating what it sees as anti-Chinese bias in the foreign media.
In effect, Alibaba has taken Hong Kong’s English-language paper of record since the days of British rule and put it on the leading edge of China’s efforts to project soft power abroad. Every day, The Post churns out dozens of articles about China, many of which seek to present a more positive view of the country. As it does, critics say it is moving away from independent journalism and pioneering a new form of propaganda.The interesting thing for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park watchers is the role of Alibaba, a public company which was co-founded by Joseph Tsai, who's the incoming minority (and later majority) owner of the Brooklyn Nets.
(Do see the paper's own interview with Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who said, "It is about being impartial and balanced.")
There's no immediate, direct synergy. If Tsai were also an investor in the associated Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project, or the Barclays Center, there could be synergy, given that the non-arena project is owned (excepting 461 Dean) by Greenland USA, the U.S. arm of a company significantly owned by the government of Shanghai.
The arena operating company is owned by Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, controlled by Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov, who's selling the team, in stages, to Tsai.
But there could be indirect synergy, of sorts. First, given that Greenland Forest City Partners (soon to be owned 95% by Greenland, currently owned 70%) may want to market to Chinese customers--as the joint venture did for the first condo tower, 550 Vanderbilt--an association with Alibaba, if not the South China Morning Post, could be effective.
It's not on the table as of now, but there could be some potential synergy, if--as in the past--visits by the Brooklyn Nets to China are coordinated with efforts to raise funds for the project from immigrant investors via the EB-5 program.
The project developer had brought retired NBA stars, like (the late) Darryl Dawkins, to mingle with potential investors, as in the 2014 image below.
The EB-5 program has been renewed, for now, only through September, so there's considerable uncertainty, and a drop-off of investment. But it's not dead. So stay tuned.