Xinhua Takes on Times Square
Xinhua, the news agency run by Chinese government, joined Time Square’s glowing pantheon of corporate iconography Monday, taking the second-highest position in a tower of flashing displays for Prudential, Coca-Cola, Samsung and Hyundai.
The huge LED sign measures 60 feet by 40 feet and replaces a billboard at 2 Times Square that had been leased by HSBC for the last decade. (No word on whether the move is part of HSBC’s just-announced round of cuts.)
Xinhua’s ascension to one of the most visible billboards in the world comes on the same day that Al-Jazeera English, an affiliate of the global news organization owned by Qatar, began broadcasting on New York’s Time Warner Cable.
For Xinhua, the billboard highlights its shift into more visible position in New York’s media landscape. The state-run news agency recently finalized a deal to move to the top floor of the 44-story skyscraper at 1540 Broadway — the same building that is now home to the huge Forever 21 store and near media giant Thomson Reuters. The company’s North American news operations had previously been headquartered in Woodside, Queens.
“We are doing more coverage here,” Zeng Hu, Xinhua’s North America bureau chief, told WSJ’s Anton Troianovski in June. With the move to Manhattan, he said the agency may increase its New York staff.
The billboard will bring new visibility to the news organization, but it won’t help spread Xinhua’s news to tourists and office workers hurrying through Times Square.