Chen Guangbiao, a Chinese businessman and philanthropist completely unknown in the United States before this month, first made news in the United States through his proposal to purchase the New York Times.
On January 5, Chen published an opinion piece in the state-owned, Chinese-based paper, the Global Times. In that letter, Chen stated his serious intentions about acquiring the New York Times, stating, “I may be a maverick, but it doesn’t mean I like playing tricks. I want to purchase the New York Times. Please do not treat it as a joke.”
However, his plan to purchase the New York Times was treated as a joke due to 2 reasons. First, Chen only offered $1 billion for the paper, which has a current market value of $2.3 billion. Oh, and there is also the fact that the owners of the New York Times, the Sulzberger family, has stated that the paper isn’t even for sale: “The Times is not for sale, and the trustees of the Ochs-Sulzberger Trust and the rest of the family are united in our commitment to work together with the company’s board, senior management and employees to lead the New York Times forward into our global and digital future.”
The second reason Chen’s stunt was treated as a joke was due to the method in which Chen went about promoting himself in New York City. If Chen was serious about purchasing one of the United States’s largest newspaper publications, perhaps he should not have handed out the following business card:
Due to the media attention derived from his outlandish offer and the constant ridiculing of his business card, Chen’s offer was deemed illegitimate.
Chen, though, has not let his first failure deter his actions. After being denied by the New York Times, Chen stated, “I am going to talk to the Wall Street Journal and find out if it’s for sale.”
While Chen’s motivation for wanting to own the New York Times was to repair its reputation in China, stating, “I find Americans know little about a civilised and open China that has been enjoying unprecedented development. The tradition and style of the New York Times make it very difficult to have objective coverage of China. If we could purchase it, its tone might turn around,” his motivation to own the Wall Street Journal is completely lacking. Unless you count Chen’s statement that he is “very good at working with Jews,” as qualification for owning another of the United States’s largest newspaper publications.
Besides seeking to own a media outlet here in the United States, Chen is also attempting to expand his own, private business to the United States by acquiring the rights to demolish an old bridge in San Francisco.
Whatever business venture he winds up succeeding in, one thing is for certain: Chen’s effervescent attempts to gain media attention and notoriety have been successful mainly due to a business card, meaning one should create a Kickstarter to start a business card business ASAP. Or perhaps Chen should start one himself.