Dow Jones is launching Barron’s Asia digital edition. This is the first time when Barron’s will step out of the U.S. and cater to the foreign readers. IM does an exclusive interview with KOPIN TAN, editor of the upcoming Asia edition. He is the man behind ‘Streetwise’ – column, offering a forward-looking take on the financial markets, illuminating market trends and identifying investment opportunities. Before this, Kopin wrote ‘The Trader’ column, covering the US stock market for several years. He has also covered Asia and the options markets for Barron’s. He is a former attorney.
Q.1. What is your vision towards Barron’s Asia? Please elaborate on your targeted reader and the content focus?
Barron’s has been delivering market-beating stock picks and investment advice to wealthy readers since we were founded in the U.S. in 1921. We’re known for moving the market in stocks we write about with well-researched, well-argued stories and opinions. This is our first overseas edition – which is a big and exciting step for us – and we hope to continue that tradition here in Asia.
Barron’s started as a weekend magazine in the U.S. because the Wall Street Journal, back then, was published Mondays to Fridays, so we came out on Saturdays with stories for readers who wanted to look after their money but who didn’t have time to follow the markets minute-by-minute. Today, our U.S. edition has a loyal following of more than 400,000 paid subscribers, and nearly two-thirds of our readers are affluent individuals – such as dentists, doctors, lawyers – and the rest are financial professionals.
Even before we’ve launched Barron’s Asia, we already have more than 2,000 readers in Asia who read our U.S. edition. They are wealthy, very active investors – we did a survey and found that each of them average more than 50 securities transactions a year, and have more than US$3 million in household investments. We want to build on that base with our new dedicated Asia coverage.
As for content, we plan to have an Asia investing column, an Asia stocks blog, profiles of Asian companies and mutual funds, stories about which stocks or markets we think are under-valued or over-valued, wealth-management features, and contributions from financial professionals. And that’s just for a start.
Q.2 Do you think that you have timed it right? What is the scope of such an edition in the current scenario?
Asia already has nearly 60% of the planet’s population, two of its three biggest economies, and some of the world’s fastest-growing and vibrant markets. By 2018, Asia’s wealth is expected to surpass North America’s. I think the time is right for Barron’s Asia, and for conversations about how to grow portfolios and minimize risks.
Q.3. What are your preparations towards the launch and the infrastructure you are relying on. Is their any specific launch plan and promotion strategy?
I spent many jetlagged months earlier this year flying to Asia to meet with prospective advertisers and interview journalists. I’m pleased to share we’ve now hired a team of nearly 10 wonderful journalists who will cover Asia from our base in Hong Kong. Barron’s Asia will go live on October 15, and the site will be free for the first three months to introduce ourselves to readers in the region. After January 15, readers will pay a modest introductory rate to subscribe.
Subscribers to Barron’s Asia will get all our U.S. content for free, since we believe Asian readers can benefit from our bedrock coverage of the U.S. market, and we believe in the importance of diversification and a global perspective. Similarly, subscribers to our U.S. edition will also get access to the Asia site for free, since U.S. investors are keenly interested in Asia.
Q.4. How do you see the emerging Indian market and its impact on the global economy?
We’re hopeful about the changes we’re seeing in India and the promised reforms – and about prospects for your stock market. In fact, in our May 3 issue, Barron’s wrote a big bullish cover story entitled “India: Open for Business” – about how Narendra Modi represents India’s best shot at engineering an economic turnaround.
Q.5 How much emphasis will be laid on news from the Indian sub-continent? How important will be Indian market for Barron’s Asia?
We think roughly 50% of our coverage will be about Greater China, but the beauty of the Internet is we can see which of our stories readers are flocking to, and what coverage is gaining the most traction. In our recent interviews, we’ve noticed more money managers paying attention to Indian stocks and talking about Indian investments, and if that continues, India will certainly feature prominently in our coverage. Obviously, India’s economy is crucial to Asia’s and we will watch it closely.
Q.6. A fresh government is in place and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reaching out to all Asian countries to unite and make collective efforts towards growth. Do you see hope in there and what are the expectations?
I think expectations are increasing for India in general and Narendra Modi in particular. The number of times India’s stock market has closed at all-time highs this year alone speaks for itself. When I last looked, the Sensex index was up nearly 28% this year and is one of the globe’s best performers. With expectations high and rising, there’s an increasing chance that stocks could correct in the short term if investors become disappointed with the pace of reform – if the promised changes don’t come fast enough to appease investors and meet expectations. But in the long run, I think prospects are very bright for India.
Q.7. What all and what new can be expected from Barron’s Asia?
What else can I say? We are excited by this new endeavor and I’m confident our new Asia digital edition will bring Barron’s trademark brand of sophisticated advice, investment insights and market analysis to readers in Asia.