(RTTNews) - The New York Times announced its plans to relocate its Hong Kong-based digital news operation to South Korea's Seoul, amid uncertainty following China's tough national security law for the semi-autonomous city.
The news organization cited the possible impact of Beijing's new security law to the city's prospects as a hub for journalism in Asia.
The Times plans to move its digital team of journalists, that comes around one-third of its Hong Kong staff, to Seoul over the course of the next year. Meanwhile, correspondents who cover the city and region will remain, along with the print production team for The New York Times International Edition, as well as advertising and marketing staff.
The Times' Hong Kong bureau serves as a base for reporters and editors covering Asia. It is also a major part of the newspaper's 24/7 digital operation, working along with the staff in New York and London.
Hong Kong, once a British colony, has been serving as the Asian headquarters for many English-language news outlets. According to the newspaper, the city has been open to foreign companies, has proximity to the Chinese mainland, and holds rich tradition of a freewheeling press.
China passed the sweeping national security law for Hong Kong on June 30, aiming to curb activities of the opposition and pro-democracy forces in the city, which is now China's Special Administrative Region.
Under the new tightened Chinese rule, some Times employees in Hong Kong faced difficulties to secure work permits, which were not an issue earlier in the region. This has prompted Times editors to think that they need an additional operations base for the region.
Times editors and executives wrote in a memo to staff, "China's sweeping new national security law in Hong Kong has created a lot of uncertainty about what the new rules will mean to our operation and our journalism. We feel it is prudent to make contingency plans and begin to diversify our editing staff around the region."