The media entity, known as The China Project, is on the verge of closing its operations. This particular publication, one of the few independent English-language media outlets delivering comprehensive coverage of China for Western audiences, is facing a shutdown primarily due to financial challenges, as detailed in a statement by its editor-in-chief, Jeremy Goldkorn.
Originating as a newsletter in 2016 under the former name SupChina, The China Project had gradually expanded its scope to transform into a “news and business intelligence company dedicated to providing global audiences with a profound understanding of China,” as indicated on its website.
Its diverse array of offerings encompassed the popular China-themed Sinica podcast, an extensive collection of articles addressing a wide spectrum of China-related subjects on its website, a business intelligence data product named “ChinaEDGE,” and the orchestration of conferences. The company also scaled its team size over time. However, mirroring the experiences of many online-based media enterprises in recent years, securing sustainable financial backing presented an ongoing challenge.
Jeremy Goldkorn conveyed in his statement on the website, “The media industry is inherently precarious. This week, we received the disheartening news that a funding source we had relied upon would no longer materialize, compelling us to make the difficult decision to cease our operations.”
The company’s core mission revolved around providing “balanced” reporting on China and topics related to the U.S.-China relationship. However, this endeavor encountered criticism, particularly as tensions between the two nations reached unprecedented levels.
“We have been accused, in both countries, of pursuing hidden agendas on behalf of the respective governments,” noted Goldkorn. “Defending ourselves against such allegations incurred significant legal costs and, more detrimentally, made it increasingly challenging to attract investors, advertisers, and sponsors. Although our subscription offerings displayed robust and steady growth, we had not yet reached a stage where these revenues could independently sustain our operations.”
Media companies around the world have grappled with varying degrees of success when adopting subscription-based models.
The China Project’s subscription package, offering “the most comprehensive perspective on China available on the internet,” was available at an annual rate of $120, and this offer remained accessible to website visitors as of Tuesday.
Bob Guterma, the company’s CEO, emphasized, “Our challenge is not related to our business model. We laid out ambitious plans and pursued them with unwavering support from our investors. However, over the past six months, investor interest has significantly waned due to economic and geopolitical headwinds. Consequently, we found ourselves unable to sustain the structures we had painstakingly built.”