Bloomberg Should Have Rethought Articles on China, Chairman Says; Sales of financial-data terminals declined sharply in China after its news service published articles on the family wealth of high-ranking politicians in the country

Bloomberg Should Have Rethought Articles on China, Chairman Says
By NEIL GOUGHMARCH 20, 2014
Peter T. Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg L.P., said being in China “occupies a lot of our thinking.” CreditGonzalo Fuentes/Reuters
HONG KONG — The chairman of Bloomberg L.P. said in a speech here on Thursday that the company should have reconsidered articles that deviated from the core of its coverage, business news, in light of the huge potential for its products in the Chinese market.

Bloomberg, the financial data and news company, relies on sales of its terminals, which are ubiquitous on bankers’ desks around the world, for around 82 percent of its $8.5 billion in revenue. But sales of those terminals in China declined sharply after the company published an article in June 2012 on the family wealth of Xi Jinping, at that time the incoming Communist Party chief. Following its publication, officials ordered state enterprises not to subscribe to the service.
Acknowledging the vast size of the Chinese economy, the world’s second biggest after that of the United States, the chairman, Peter T. Grauer, said, “We have to be there.”
“We have about 50 journalists in the market, primarily writing stories about the local business and economic environment,” Mr. Grauer said in response to questions after a speech at the Asia Society. “You’re all aware that every once in a while we wander a little bit away from that and write stories that we probably may have kind of rethought — should have rethought.”
He did not specifically mention the article about Mr. Xi or any other articles.
Mr. Grauer’s comments on Bloomberg’s journalistic priorities in China reflect what some Bloomberg employees say is a re-emphasis on financial news, and skepticism from the business side of the company that investigative journalism might not be worth the potential problems it could create for terminal sales.
Bloomberg, controlled by the billionaire Michael R. Bloomberg — who returned to the company at the beginning of this year after 12 years as mayor of New York City — employs around 125 people in mainland China across its businesses, which also include providing data about the country’s currency and bond futures markets.
“Being in China is very much a part of our long-term strategy and will continue to be so going forward,” Mr. Grauer said. “It occupies a lot of our thinking — Dan Doctoroff, our C.E.O.; me; Mike; and other members of our senior team.”
After the article about the Xi family’s wealth was published, Chinese officials also blocked Bloomberg’s website on Chinese servers, and the company has been unable to get residency visas for new journalists. Other news organizations have come under similar pressure. The websites of The New York Times, including a new Chinese-language edition, were blocked when it published an article in October 2012 on the family wealth of Wen Jiabao, then the prime minister. Like Bloomberg, The Times has not received residency visas for new journalists.
In November, several news outlets, including The New York Times, publishedreports quoting unidentified Bloomberg employees saying that top editors at the company, led by Matthew Winkler, editor in chief of Bloomberg News, did not publish an investigative article because of fears the company would be expelled from China. Mr. Winkler denied that the article had been spiked.
A reporter who co-wrote the unpublished investigative article — and who had been a lead reporter on the Xi family wealth article in 2012 — left Bloomberg News shortly after reports of the controversy were published in November. He joined The New York Times in January.
In his comments on Thursday, Mr. Grauer did not provide figures for the size of Bloomberg’s business in China. One former executive said in November that the company had around 2,000 to 2,500 terminals in mainland China, out of 300,000 terminals worldwide.
He said the company was investing aggressively in fast-growing emerging markets including China and dozens of other countries. Such nations account for around 12 percent of people who use Bloomberg terminals, but 30 percent of its sales in the year to date, he said.
“Our approach is pretty much to tune out all the news about weaknesses in the emerging markets,” Mr. Grauer said. “We’re investing full speed ahead.”

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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