That's a China mess

Interfax reports on a dispute allegedly brewing between the company that produces That's magazines (of which Mark Kitto is the CEO) and the entity that provides the city guide series with legal publication numbers:

A potential dispute is on the horizon between China's leading English language magazines and their Chinese publisher, highlighting the dangers and difficulties associated with publishing in the country. The That's titles are a series of city magazines, similar to Time Out, which are published in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, with city circulation figures in the tens of thousands. The That's Chinese publisher has launched a rival title, that directly infringes on the That's brand name, as well as duplicating content.

Due to the nature of this business, the Chinese publisher believes and would appear to be within its rights to undertake such actions.

In 1998, Klau and Benedict (Gao Bang Enterprise Consulting Co. Ltd.) launched an English language magazine in Shanghai focused on introducing expatriates and foreign tourists to the city and its culture. The magazine, titled That's Shanghai, has since become one of most well known English publications in China. Consequently, the appearance this year of a new magazine publishing under the That's brand name without having first consulted Klau and Benedict has led market observers to predict a dispute is in the making. Adding more intrigue is the fact that this new magazine, titled That's China, is being published by Klau and Benedict's Chinese partner.

The article also contains a clear explanation of a model commonly used by foreign invested magazines to publish 'legally', and you can find it here.

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