Why is SupChina Passing Itself Off as China Briefing?

Posted by Reading Time: 5 minutes

Update: We note that SupChina have, subsequent to this article, now withdrawn their use of ‘China Weekly Briefing’ and appreciate their actions in respecting brand usage and ownership.

The SupChina website, based in New York, has been advertising subscriptions to its newsletter under the title “China Weekly Briefing” – the exact same name as the “China Weekly Briefing” published by us – China Briefing. SupChina’s subscriptions cost up to US$88 – whereas our China Briefing service is complimentary.

SupChina has been publishing material about China since 2015, China Briefing since 1999. There, similarities end. SupChina has taken a low-end, often negative, and critical position on China as a country, with this week alone carrying an opinion piece “American overall opinions about China hit record low”, together with articles referring to Chinese sexual misconductfraud allegationsracial insensitivities, and so on.

There is a place for such journalism if it brings people to account. But SupChina does not. Instead, they sensationalize China negative themes without doing anything about them. It is a constant stream of China bad stories, that in a way mirror those themes also occurring in the United States. In doing so, it comes across as a back-handed commentary as just how much Chinese society is becoming Americanized, although I doubt any real China expert would suggest that is the case.

Jeremy Goldkorn, one of SupChina’s editors, has previous behavior in this – managing to have his Danwei website banned by the Chinese government because of a constant barrage of China offensive content. Some see that as a badge of honor, while others regard it as the inevitable response to an annoying foreigner with nothing good to say about the country. This is why, for example, Jeremy Goldkorn now resides and blogs about China from Nashville, and why as at today, SupChina produces articles about Chinese racism but leaves out news that China has sent millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Africa. (We will see if they act on that after they read this piece). In general, SupChina only shows one side of China: the negative one. And that means the site is not impartial, it has a politicized agenda. As one email I received today on the SupChina subject stated: “They simply parrot every US State Department talking point and present themselves as experts.”

China Briefing in contrast is a corporate business publication – with over 8 million readers per annum, publishing material this week, such as handling Annual Tax Returns, Coronavirus UpdatesA.I Innovation Zones, and case studies about doing business in China.

The two websites are worlds apart in the quality and nature of their material. China Briefing is also the more successful – Alexa places China Briefing at a far higher ranking than SupChina.

We have asked SupChina to desist their attempts to confuse the China readership market with communications, also involving lawyers, going back and forth for several weeks. Nothing has happened from their side, their “China Weekly Briefing” (US$88) continues to use the exact same title as ours. It is not hard to imagine why: any mention of “China Weekly Briefing” is more than likely to mislead people into thinking they mean China Briefing. It is duplicitous, a handy way to confuse customers, and profit from it.

The Real China Weekly Briefing. Click the image for your complimentary subscription.  

Unfortunately, we have faced previous problems from some of SupChina’s editorial personnel. Their Managing Editor, Anthony Tao, has run articles aimed directly at our staff, on his own blog for example implying the entire 25-year China career of our Founder and Primary Investor was “bullshit”, including insults such as “fuckup”, “liar”, “bullying”, “narcissist”, and referring to this China Briefing website as “a junkyard of broken links”. That is in addition to numerous other inaccurate and defamatory statements about China Briefing and Dezan Shira & Associates. These are deliberate hatchet jobs, not to mention distasteful, nasty, and libelous while at the same time – designed to attract plenty of views.

Complaints were sent, nothing was done about it and the article in question is still online under the excuse of “free speech”. It is not free speech. It is a deliberate attempt to profit from online abuse by publishing nasty words and trash at somebody else’s expense. Is this the kind of journalism China watchers want to read?

SupChina’s tag line is “We help the west read China between the lines”. Readers can make up their own minds about what that really means.

We at China Briefing in contrast prefer to stick to facts, producing business news, opinion, and intelligent, respectful content. We do not attempt to pass ourselves off as someone else, and own the China Briefing marks in China and Hong Kong. SupChina meanwhile say these are unenforceable. Which means that to them, the “China Weekly Briefing” title is of real benefit. Otherwise, they would not continue using it.

It is, of course, an absurdity that SupChina feel the need to do this when they can quite easily use the title “SupChina Weekly Briefing”. Thus far, they have opted not to do so on their homepage. It is deliberately disingenuous.

It is a somewhat disturbing story, and indicative of how certain media and individuals are prepared to act to get their own way to build up their own brands and individual’s profiles at the expense of others. We think it dishonest, disrespectful, unprofessional, and not a little creepy.

SupChina’s “China Weekly Briefing” costs up to US$88. China Briefing’s “China Weekly Briefing” (published since 1999) is complimentary and can be obtained here.

We will be happy to welcome you as a China Briefing subscriber with open arms – and it won’t cost you anything. You’ll receive a weekly email news update, access to all our complimentary business magazines (the current issue is a detailed study of South China’s Greater Bay Area) in addition to invitations to our popular business webinars, podcasts, and other corporate events. A selection can be seen here.

SupChina have deliberately missed requested deadlines, the most recent being yesterday, to correct their poor behavior. They have not acted in good faith. Hence, our need to publicize the dispute to avoid confusion.  You, the reader can decide whether you have been misled or not and decide what type of China journalism you want to read. SupChina’s, or the original China Briefing.

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This article was originally posted March 5, 2021 and has been updated on March 9, 2021.


About Us

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done so since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com

We also maintain offices assisting foreign investors in Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, The Philippines, MalaysiaThailand, United States, and Italy, in addition to our practices in India and Russia and our trade research facilities along the Belt & Road Initiative.