Telum Talks To... Doug Young, Co-founder / Director, Bamboo Works

Telum Talks To... Doug Young, Co-founder / Director, Bamboo Works

Veteran journalist Doug Young has recently co-founded Bamboo Works. It is a financial news platform and content provider focusing on Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong and the United States, with a focus on mid-cap and pre-IPO (initial public offering) companies. Telum Media recently caught up with him on the platform's editorial focus. 

What is behind the naming of Bamboo Works? What does it do? 
The name comes from a Chinese proverb, 胸有成竹, which means that you must be able to imagine something in your heart to make it a reality. The Chinese proverb contains the word “bamboo,” since it literally means you must be able to imagine a clump of bamboo in your mind before you can use your artistic skills to express it as a life-like painting. That’s what we’re aiming to do: use our collective background of more than a century in financial journalism and related areas to launch our own news channel focused on U.S.- and Hong Kong -listed Chinese companies. We’ll cover all the latest news and provide analysis on companies from our coverage area, including a wide range of both paid and non-paid stories. Regardless of their paid status, our stories will all encompass high-quality journalism aimed at investors interested in this group of companies that are typically overlooked by mainstream media. 
 
Why did you decide to set up your own shop as a veteran journalist? 
My co-founders and I firmly believe that the media landscape of the future will be divided into two main groups: channel operators and news providers. Platforms like Facebook, Reddit and Toutiao fall into the platform category, while we want to position Bamboo Works as a financial news channel that provides premier content for those platforms. We’ll also have our own website, of course. But we are first and foremost a financial media carrying news and analysis on our target coverage companies, and really see these third-party platforms as our main distribution partners.
 
What is your plan in China? Who do you see as your main target audience? 
We are getting news about Chinese companies in front of global investors, which includes letting paying clients choose the stories they want global investors to know about. The part of our business selling services to client companies will be mostly based in China because that’s where our customers are. The other part of our business is generating and distributing news and analysis, and this will be a bit more global. We’ll use translators and some writers based in China, but a big part of our news creation and distribution will be done outside China. As to the main readers for our news and analysis, we will focus on reaching individual investors and small fund managers that buy U.S.- and Hong Kong-listed Chinese stocks. These can include investors both inside and outside China.
 
Could you share with us more about the editorial side of the operation? 
We are using our industry connections to assemble a team of veteran financial journalists to write and edit our stories. That includes some of my former colleagues from Reuters who are now working as freelancers, as well as people we’re signing up through our other industry connections. We will have an in-house editorial director, but at least in the beginning we’ll be using a mostly freelance model. Very gig economy!
 
Are you open to working with public relations professionals? In what areas?
We see public and investor relations professionals as key partners for our business model. These people understand the importance of creating high-quality, independent-style news and analysis to tell their story to investors in a credible way. We are already working with both internal PR professionals at our target companies, as well as professionals at PR agencies.
 
What is the one trend in China that will potentially reshape business in the coming 12 months?
All the regulatory uncertainty has to be the biggest trend on people’s minds right now. It’s affecting everything from individual sectors, such as education, to the entire field of Chinese companies listing overseas. In this kind of changing international political landscape, it’s extremely important for Chinese companies that target overseas investors or customers to better understand them – which is a place where we can help. At this point it’s really hard to say how things will look when all the dust settles. Based on my past experience, many of the things now happening will ultimately settle down somewhat and life could return to a more normal situation within a year or so, though perhaps with some new restrictions.

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