Elites, Networks and Power in Modern China

The development of the modern press in modern China

This case study relies on the series of newspapers directories compiled by Carl Crow, Inc. (the first American advertising agency established in China in 1918) between 1931 and 1937.[1] Although these directories represent the most extensive and detailed source of information available on the press industry in 1930s China, they have remained unexplored to date. Each directory contains information on hundreds of newspapers and periodicals issued across China, including the city of publication, the publishers’ name and address, the number and dimensions of pages, the number and size of columns, circulation figures, readers’ profile, subscription rates, advertising value and outstanding features (layout, special contents). The directories cover not only daily newspapers but also periodicals of all kinds and languages – Chinese and foreign weeklies, semi-weeklies, monthly magazines (general and specialized), annuals and year books. Regularly updated (four successive editions in 1931, 1933, 1935, 1937), these directories allow us to examine how far the economic depression and the covert war with Japan (1931-1933) affected the press industry and impacted on its evolution throughout the 1930s. Our study relies on various methods – especially statistical analysis and geographical information system – to map the development of the press across time and space in Republican China.

[1] Carl Crow, Inc., Newspaper Directory of China (Including Hongkong) with Check List of Newspapers and Periodicals Published in Japan, Chosen, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Siam, Singapore and Federated Malay States (Shanghai: Carl Crow, Inc., 1931).