Saturday, June 30, 2012
I try to keep careful track of who is learning (and not learning anymore) which languages in which countries, along with which newspapers and agencies publish in which languages; this in recent times has meant a lot of articles about Chinese. Two days ago quite a significant one of these events took place: the New York Times announced that it had begun a Chinese language edition of the newspaper online, which you can read here.
Being able to be read by a potential 500 million (and growing) online population makes this an easy decision to make, in spite of the possibility of being blocked later on. As the Washington Post notes, the Wall Street Journal (which has had a Chinese edition for a decade now) lost about half its traffic when it was blocked. The New York Times, on the other hand, is starting from zero and so there is no benchmark yet for comparison. The more Chinese is learned by people outside of the country though the easier it will be to maintain a steady readership. I have to admit that I prefer the site design of the New York Times in Chinese to something like...qq.com, let's say.
Okay, it's a biased comparison as QQ.com isn't a newspaper, but I still like the familiar layout of the New York Times.